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:fornia 
nal 

ty 




THE KING'S CLASSICS, UNDER 
THE GENERAL EDITORSHIP OF 
PROFESSOR GOLLANCZ 



MEDIEVAL LORE 




en ^Wousit OAAtmniu) 

(P 82) 



MEDIEVAL LORE * 
FROM BARTHOLO- 
MEW ANGLICUS 
BY ROBERT STEELE 
WITH PREFACE BY 
WILLIAM MORRIS 



ALEXANDER MORING, LTD. 
THE DE LA MORE PRESS 32 
GEORGE ST. LONDON W 1905 



ISAACT6of 
LIBRARY 



WHEN HOLY WERE THE HAUNTED FOREST BOUGHS, 
HOLY THE AIR, THE WATER, AND THE FIRE." 

KEATS. 



PREFACE 



IT is not long since the Middle Ages, of the litera- 
ture of which this book gives us such curious 
examples, were supposed to be an unaccountable 
phenomenon accidentally thrust in betwixt the two 
periods of civilisation, the classical and the modern, 
and forming a period without growth or meaning 
a period which began about the time of the decay 
of the Roman Empire, and ended suddenly, and 
more or less unaccountably, at the time of the 
Reformation. The society of this period was 
supposed to be lawless and chaotic ; its ethics a 
mere conscious hypocrisy ; its art gloomy and 
barbarous fanaticism only ; its literature the formless 
jargon of savages ; and as to its science, that side of 
human intelligence was supposed to be an invention 
of the time when the Middle Ages had been dead 
two hundred years. 



x MEDIAEVAL LORE 

The light which the researches of modern his- 
torians, archaeologists, bibliographers, and others, have 
let in on our view of the Middle Ages has dispersed 
the cloud of ignorance on this subject which was 
one of the natural defects of the qualities of the 
learned men and keen critics of the eighteenth 
and early part of the nineteenth centuries. The 
Middle-class or Whig theory of life is failing us in 
all branches of human intelligence. Ethics, Politics, 
Art, and Literature are more than beginning to be 
regarded from a wider point of view than that from 
which our fathers and grandfathers could see them. 

For many years there has been a growing reaction 
against the dull " grey " narrowness of the eighteenth 
century, which looked on Europe during the last 
thousand years as but a riotous, hopeless, and stupid 
prison. It is true that it was on the side of Art 
alone that this enlightenment began, and that even 
on that side it progressed slowly enough at first 
e.g. Sir Walter Scott feels himself obliged, as in the 
Antiquary, to apologize to pedantry for his instinc- 
tive love of Gothic architecture. And no less true 
is it that follies enough were mingled with the really 
useful and healthful birth of romanticism in Art and 
Literature. But at last the study of facts by men 



PREFACE xi 

who were neither artistic nor sentimental came to 
the help of that first glimmer of instinct, and gradu- 
ally something like a true insight into the life of the 
Middle Ages was gained ; and we see that the world 
of Europe was no more running round in a circle 
then than now, but was developing, sometimes with 
stupendous speed, into something as different from 
itself as the age which succeeds this will be different 
from that wherein we live. The men of those 
times are no longer puzzles to us ; we can under- 
stand their aspirations, and sympathise with their 
lives, while at the same time we have no wish (not 
to say hope) to put back the clock, and start from 
the position which they held. For, indeed, it is 
characteristic of the times in which we live, that 
whereas in the beginning of the romantic reaction, 
its supporters were for the most part mere laudatores 
temporis acti, at the present time those who take 
pleasure in studying the life of the Middle Ages are 
more commonly to be found in the ranks of those 
who are pledged to the forward movement of 
modern life ; while those who are vainly striving to 
stem the progress of the world are as careless of the 
past as they are fearful of the future. In short, 
history, the new sense of modern times, the great 



xii MEDIAEVAL LORE 

compensation for the losses of the centuries, is now 
teaching us worthily, and making us feel that the 
past is not dead, but is living in us, and will be alive 
in the future which we are now helping to make. 

To my mind, therefore, no excuse is needful for 
the attempt made in the following pages to familiar- 
ise the reading public with what was once a famous 
knowledge-book of the Middle Ages. But the reader, 
before he can enjoy it, must cast away the exploded 
theory of the invincible and wilful ignorance of the 
days when it was written ; the people of that time 
were eagerly desirous for knowledge, and their 
teachers were mostly single-hearted and intelligent 
men, of a diligence and laboriousness almost past 
belief. The " Properties of Things " of Bartholomew 
the Englishman is but one of the huge encyclopaedias 
written in the early Middle Age for the instruction 
of those who wished to learn, and the reputation of 
it and its fellows shows how much the science of 
the day was appreciated by the public at large, how 
many there were who wished to learn. Even apart 
from its interest as showing the tendency of men's 
minds in days when Science did actually tell them 
"fairy tales," the book is a delightful one in its 
English garb ; for the language is as simple as if the 



PREFACE xiii 

author were speaking by word of mouth, and at the 
same time is pleasant, and not lacking a certain 
quaint floweriness, which makes it all the easier to 
retain the subject-matter of the book. 

Altogether, this introduction to the study of the 
Mediaeval Encyclopaedia, and the insight which such 
works give us into the thought of the past and its 
desire for knowledge, make a book at once agreeable 
and useful ; and I repeat that it is a hopeful sign of 
the times when students of science find themselves 
drawn towards the historical aspect of the world of 
men, and show that their minds have been enlarged, 
and not narrowed, by their special studies a defect 
which was too apt to mar the qualities of the seekers 
into natural facts in what must now, I would hope, 
be called the just-passed epoch of intelligence 
dominated by Whig politics, and the self-sufficiency 
of empirical science. 

WILLIAM MORRIS. 



PAGE 

INTRODUCTION i 

THE PROLOGUE OF THE TRANSLATOR . . 9 

MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 13 

MEDIAEVAL MANNERS 49 

MEDIAEVAL MEDICINE 63 

MEDIAEVAL GEOGRAPHY 80 

MEDIAEVAL NATURAL HISTORY TREES . . 102 

MEDIAEVAL NATURAL HISTORY BIRDS AND 

FISHES 116 

MEDIEVAL NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS . 138 
THE SOURCES OF THE BOOK . . . -173 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 181 

GLOSSARY 185 

INDEX 191 



INTRODUCTION 



The Book and its Object. The book which we offer to 

the public of to-day is drawn from one of the most widely read 
books of mediaeval times. Written by an English Franciscan, 
Bartholomew, in the middle of the thirteenth century, probably 
before 1260, it speedily travelled over Europe. It was translated 
into French" by order of Charles V. (1364-81) in 1372, into 
Spanish, into Dutch, and into English in 1397. Its popularity, 
almost unexampled, is explained by the scope of the work, as 
stated in the translator's prologue (p. 9). It was written to explain 
the allusions to natural objects met with in the Scriptures or in the 
Gloss. It was, in fact, an account of the properties of things in 
general j an encyclopaedia of similes for the benefit of the village 
preaching friar, written for men without deep sometimes with- 
out any learning. Assuming no previous information, and giving 
a fairly clear statement of the state of the knowledge of the time, 
the book was readily welcomed by the class for which it was de- 
signed, and by the small nucleus of an educated class which was 
slowly forming. Its popularity remained in full vigour after the 
invention of printing, no less than ten editions being published 
in the fifteenth century of the Latin copy alone, with four 
French translations, a Dutch, a Spanish, and an English one. 

B 



2 MEDIEVAL LORE 

The first years of the modern commercial system gave its 
death-blow to the popularity of this characteristically mediaeval 
work, and though an effort was made in 1582 to revive it, the 
attempt was unsuccessful quite naturally so, since the book was 
written for men desirous to hear of the wonders of strange lands, 
and did not give an accurate account of anything. The man who 
bought cinnamon at Stourbridge Fair in 1380 would have felt 
poorer if any one had told him that it was not shot from the 
phoenix' nest with leaden arrows, while the merchant of 1580 
wished to know where it was grown, and how much he would 
pay a pound for it if he bought it at first hand. Any attempt 
to reconcile these frames of mind was foredoomed to failure. 

The Interest of Bartholomew's Work. The interest 

of Bartholomew's work to modern readers is twofold : it has its 
value as literature pure and simple, and it is one of the most 
important of the documents by the help of which we rebuild for 
ourselves the fabric of mediaeval life. The charm of its style lies 
in its simple forcible language, and its simplicity suits its matter 
well. On the one hand, we cannot forget it is a translation, but 
the translation, on the other hand, is from the mediaeval Latin of 
an Englishman into English. 

One of the greatest difficulties in the way of a student is to 
place himself in the mental attitude of a man of the Middle Ages 
towards nature ; yet only by so doing can he appreciate the 
solutions that the philosophers of the time offered of the problems 
of nature. Our author affords perhaps the simplest way of 
learning what Chaucer and perhaps Shakespeare knew and 
believed of their surroundings earth, air, and sea. The plan 
on which his work was constructed led Bartholomew in order 
over the universe from God and the angels through fire, water, 



INTRODUCTION 3 

air, to earth and all that therein is. We thus obtain a succinct 
account of the popular mediaeval theories in Astronomy, 
Physiology, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, and Natural History, 
all but unattainable otherwise. The aim of our chapter on 
Science has been to give sufficient extracts to mark the theories 
on which mediaeval Science was based, the methods of its reason- 
ing, and the results at which it arrived. The chapter on Medicine 
gives some account of the popular cures and notions of the day, 
and that on Geography resumes the traditions current on foreign 
lands, at a time when Ireland was at a greater distance than 
Rome, and less known than Syria. 

In the chapter on Mediaeval Society we have not perhaps 
the daily life of the Middle Ages, but at least the ideal set 
before them by their pastors and masters an ideal in direct 
relationship with the everyday facts of their life. The lord, 
the servant, the husband, the wife, and the child, here find their 
picture. Some information, too, can be obtained about the daily 
life of the time from the chapter on the Natural History of 
Plants, which gives incidentally their food-stuffs. 

It is in the History of Animals that the student of literature 
will find the richest mine of allusions. The list of similes in 
Shakespeare explained by our author would fill a volume like 
this itself. Other writers, again, simply "lift" the book whole- 
sale. Chester and Du Bartas write page after page of rhyme, all 
but versified direct from Bartholomew. Jonson and Spenser, 
Marlowe and Massinger, make ample use of him. Lyly and 
Drayton owe him a heavy debt. Considerations of space forbid 
their insertion, but for every extract made here, the Editor has 
collected several passages from first-class authors with a view to 
illustrating the immense importance of this book to Elizabethan 
literature. It was not without reason that Ireland chose 



4 MEDIEVAL LORE 

Bartholomew Anglicus as the book to produce with Shakespeare's 
name on the title-page. The conceits which give our Elizabethan 
literature its flavour, 

" Talking of stones, stars, plants, of fishes, flies 
Playing with words and idle similes," 

all find an origin or at least an elucidation here. 

Previous Editions. The edition from which this work is 
compiled is that of Berthelet, 1535. There are two others in 
English that of Wynkyn de Worde in 1491, and that known as 
" Batman on Bartholomew," 1582, the latter being unsuitable for 
the purpose owing to the numerous alterations and omissions, 
the former being, for all practical purposes, inaccessible, a com- 
plete copy being worth hundreds of pounds. Some details of 
these editions have been added to the bibliography. Berthelet's 
edition is perhaps his best book, and is a magnificent piece of 
printing. 

The editor has been unable to trace any MS. of Trevisa's 
translation which could have served as original for either of the 
editions of de Worde or Berthelet. Indeed the conclusion is forced 
on one, that in a work like this, meant for popular use, every 
copyist and every editor assumed the privilege of fitting it for 
his own circle of readers, altering or omitting any part not in 
harmony with his tastes or requirements. Thus in the original, 
and in Trevisa, the first book contains over twenty chapters, 
and a long prologue. Wynkyn de Worde omits more than half 
of these, and Berthelet further omits two-thirds of the 
remainder. 

Changes in present Edition. While far from claiming 

the privilege of his predecessors, the editor believes himself 



INTRODUCTION 5 

justified, when making a selection of passages from the work 
for modern readers, in altering his text to this extent and this 
only : he has modernised the spelling, and in the case of entirely 
obsolete grammatical forms he has substituted modern ones (e.g, 
" its " for " his "). In the case of an utterly dead word he has 
followed the course of substituting a word from the same root, 
when one exists ; and when none could be found, he has left 
it unchanged in the text. Accordingly a short glossary has 
been added, which includes, too, many words which we may hope 
are not dead, but sleeping. In very few cases has a word been 
inserted, and in those it is marked by italics. 

Perhaps we may be allowed to say a word in defence of the 
principle of modernising our earliest literature. Early English 
poetry is, in general (with some striking exceptions), incapable 
of being written in the spelling of our days without losing all of 
that which makes it verse ; but there can be no reason, when dealing 
with the masterpieces of our Early English prose, for maintaining 
obsolete forms of spelling and grammar which hamper the 
passage of thought from mind to mind across the centuries. 
Editors of Shakespeare and the Bible for general use have long 
assumed the privilege of altering the spelling, and except on the 
principle that earlier works are more important, or are only to be 
read by people who have had the leisure and inclination to 
familiarise their eyes with the peculiarities of Middle English, there 
can be no reason for stopping there, or a century earlier. At 
some point, of course, the number of obsolete words becomes so 
great that the text cannot be read without a dictionary : then 
the limit has been reached. But Caxton, Trevisa, and many 
others are well within it, and it is good to remove all obstacles 
which prevent the ordinary reader from feeling the continuity of 
his mother tongue. 



6 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

The Author. The facts known of our author's life have 
been summarised by Miss Toulmin Smith in her article in the 
Dictionary of National Biography. In the sixteenth century 
he was generally believed to date from about 1360, and to 
have belonged to the Glanvilles an honourable Suffolk family 
in the Middle Ages ; but there seems to be no authority what- 
ever for the statement. We first hear of him in a letter from 
the provincial of the Franciscans of Saxony to the provincial of 
France, asking that Bartholomew Anglicus and another friar 
should be sent to assist him in his newly- created province. 
Next year (1231) a MS. chronicle reports that two were sent, and 
that Bartholomew Anglicus was appointed teacher of holy 
theology to the brethren in the province. We learn from Salimbene, 
who wrote the Chronicles of Parma (1283), that he had been a 
professor of theology in the University of Paris, where he had 
lectured on the whole Bible. The subject in treating of which 
he is referred to was an elephant belonging to the Emperor ; and 
Salimbene quotes a passage on the elephant from his De Proprietati- 
bui Rerum. What may be a quotation from the De Proprietatibui 
can be found in Roger Bacon's Opus Tertium (1267). 

The Date Of the Work. The date of the work seems 
fairly easy to fix. It cannot, as we have above seen, be later 
than 1267, and Amable Jourdain fixes it before 1260 by the 
fact that the particular translations of Aristotle from which 
Bartholomew quotes (Latin through the Arabic), went almost 
universally out of use by 1260. On the other hand, quotations 
are made from Albertus Magnus, who was in Paris in 1248. And 
that it was written near this year is evident from the fact that 
no quotations are made from Vincent of Beauvais, Thomas 
Aquinas, Roger Bacon, or Egidius Colonna, all of whom were in 



INTRODUCTION 7 

Paris during the second half of the thirteenth century. The 
earliest known MS. is in the Ashmole Collection, and was 
written in 1296. Two French MSS. are dated 1297 and 1329 
respectively. 

As we said in the beginning of this chapter, the work had 
an immediate nnd lasting success. Bartholomew Anglicus be- 
came known as " Magister de Proprietatibus Rerum," and his book 
was on the list of those which students could borrow from the 
University chest. It is probable that much of this popularity 
was due to the fact that he was a teacher for many years of the 
Grey Friars, and that these, the most popular and the most 
human preachers of the day, carried his book and his stories with 
them wherever they went. 

Sources. The chief sources of our author's inspiration are 
notable. He relies on St. Dionysius the Areopagite for heaven 
and the angels, Aristotle for Physics and Natural History, 
Pliny's Natural History, Isidore of Seville's Etymology, Albu- 
mazar, Al Faragus, and other Arab writers for Astronomy, Con- 
stantinus Afer's Pantegna for Medical Science, and Physiologus, 
the Bestiarium, and the Lapidarium for the properties of gems, 
animals, etc. Besides these he quotes many other writers (a list 
of whom is given in an appendix) little known to modern readers. 

The Translation and Principles of Selection. The 

translation from which we quote was made for Sir Thomas lord of 
Berkeley in 1397 by John Trevisa, his chaplain. We owe this 
good Englishman something for the works in English prose he 
called into existence some not yet printed ; may we not see in 
him another proof of what we owe to Chaucer a language 
stamped with the seal of a great poet, henceforth sufficient for 



8 MEDIEVAL LORE 

the people who speak it, ample for the expression of their 
thoughts or needs ? 

In selecting from such a book, the principles which have 
guided the editor are these : To the general reader he desires to 
offer a fair representation of the work of Bartholomew Anglicus, 
preserving the language and style. To be fair, the work must be 
sometimes dull in the whole book there are many very dull 
passages. He has desired to select passages of interest for their 
quaint language, and their views of things, often for their very 
misrepresentations of matters of common knowledge to-day, 
and for their bearing upon the literature of the country. The 
student of literature and science will find in it the materials in 
which the history of their growth is read. In conclusion, the 
editor ventures to hope that the work will not be unwelcome 
to the numerous and growing class who love English for its own 
sake as the noblest tongue on earth, and who desire not to forget 
the rock from which it was hewn, and the pit from which it was 
digged. 

Our first selection will naturally be the translator's prologue 
in the very shortened form of Berthelet. The present editor's 
work is, to avoid confusion, printed in small type throughout. 



THE PROLOGUE OF THE TRANSLATOR 

TRUE it is that after the noble and expert 
doctrine of wise and well -learned Philo- 
sophers, left and remaining with us in writing, we 
know that the properties of things follow and ensue 
their substance. Herefore it is that after the order 
and the distinction of substances, the order and the 
distinction of the properties of things shall be and 
ensue. Of the which things this work of all 
the books ensuing, by the grace, help, and assist- 
ance of all mighty God is compiled and made. 
Marvel not, ye witty and eloquent readers, that I, 
thin of wit and void of cunning, have translated this 
book from Latin into our vulgar language, as a thing 
profitable to me, and peradventure to many other, 
which understand not Latin, nor have not the know- 
ledge of the properties of things, which things be 
approved by the books of great and cunning clerks, 
9 



io MEDIAEVAL LORE 

and by the experience of most witty and noble Philo- 
sophers. All these properties of things be full 
necessary and of great value to them that will be 
desirous to understand the obscurities, or darkness 
of holy scriptures : which be given unto us under 
figures, under parables and semblance, or likelihoods 
of things natural and artificial. Saint Denys, that 
great Philosopher and solemn clerk, in his book 
named the heavenly hierarchies of angels, testifieth 
and witnesseth the same, saying in this manner : 
What so ever any man will conject, feign, imagine, 
suppose, or say : it is a thing impossible that 
the light of the heavenly divine clearness, covered 
and closed in the deity, or in the godhead, should 
shine upon us, if it were not by the diversities of holy 
covertures. Also it is not possible, that our wit 
or intendment might ascend unto the contemplation 
of the heavenly hierarchies immaterial, if our wit 
be not led by some material thing, as a man is led 
by the hand : so by these forms visible, our wit 
may be led to the consideration of the greatness or 
magnitude of the most excellent beauteous clarity, 
divine and invisible. Reciteth this also the blessed 
apostle Paul in his epistles, saying that by these 
things visible, which be made and be visible, man 



PROLOGUE OF THE TRANSLATOR u 

may see and know by his inward sight intellectual, the 
divine celestial and godly things, which be invisible 
to this our natural sight. Devout doctors of The- 
ology or divinity, for this consideration prudently and 
wisely read and use natural philosophy and moral, 
and poets in their fictions and feigned informations, 
unto this fine and end, so that by the likelihood or 
similitude of things visible our wit or our under- 
standing spiritually, by clear and crafty utterance 
of words, may be so well ordered and uttered : that 
these things corporeal may be coupled with things 
spiritual, and that these things visible may be con- 
joined with things Invisible. Excited by these 
causes to the edifying of the people contained in 
our Christian faith of almighty Christ Jesus, whose 
majesty divine is incomprehensible : and of whom to 
speak it becometh no man, but with great excellent 
worship and honour, and with an inward dreadful 
fear. Loth to offend, I purpose to say somewhat under 
the correction of excellent learned doctors and wise 
men : what every creature reasonable ought to believe 
in this our blessed Christian faith. 



ENDETH THE PROLOGUE 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 

THE following selections will give an idea of the natural 
science of the Middle Ages. In introducing them, the 
Editor will attempt to give some connected account of 
them to show that though their study seems to involve a few 
difficulties, their explanation is simple, and will not make too great 
a demand on the reader's patience. 

From the earliest times men have asked themselves two 
questions about nature: "Why?" and "How?" Mediaeval 
science concerned itself with the former ; modern science thinks 
it has learnt that no answer to that question can be given it, and 
concerns itself with the latter. It thus happens that the more 
one becomes in sympathy with the thought of our time, the less 
one can interest one's self in the work of the past, distinguished 
as it is by its disregard of all we think important, and by its 
striving for an unattainable goal. 

It is, however, necessary, if we would enjoy Chaucer, Dante, 
and Shakespeare, to obtain some notion of that system of the 
universe from which they drew so many of their analogies. The 
symbolism of Dante appears to us unnaturally strained until we 
know that the science of his day saw everything as symbolic. 

13 



H MEDIEVAL LORE 

And how could we appreciate the strength of Chaucer's metaphor : 

" O firste moving cruel firmament, 
With thy diurnal swegh that croudest ay, 
And hurtlest all from Est til Occident, 
That naturally wold hold another way," 

without some knowledge of the astronomy of his day ? 

Our first extracts explain themselves. They deal with the 
mystery of the constitution of substances, as fascinating to us as 
to the early Greeks, and begin with definitions of matter and form. 

The principal design of early philosophers in physics was to 
explain how everything was generated, and to trace the different 
states through which things pass until they become perfect. They 
observed that as a thing is not generated out of any other indiffer- 
ently for example, that marble is not capable of making flesh, 
all bodies cannot be compounded of principles alone, connected in a 
simple way, but imagined they could be made up of a few simple 
compounds. These ultimate compounds, if we may so express 
it, were their elements. The number of elements was variously 
estimated, but was generally taken as four a number arrived at 
rather from the consideration of the sensations bodies awaken in 
us, than from the study of bodies themselves. Aristotle gives us 
the train of thought by which the number is reached. He con- 
siders the qualities observed by the senses, classifying them as 
Heat, Cold, Dryness or Hardness, and Moistness or Capability of 
becoming liquid. These may partially co-exist, two at a time, 
in the same substance. There are thus four possible combinations, 
Cold and dry, Cold and moist, Hot and dry, Hot and moist. 
He then names these from their prototypes Earth, Water, Fire, 
and Air, distinguishing these elements from the actual Earth, etc., 
of everyday life. 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 15 

The habit of extending analogies beyond their legitimate 
application was a source of confusion in the early ages of science. 
Most of the superstitions of primitive religion, of astrology, and of 
alchemy, arose from this source. A good example is the extension 
of the metaphor in the words generation and corruption : words 
in constant use in scientific works until the nineteenth century 
began. Generation is the production of a substance that before 
was not, and corruption is the destruction of a substance, by its 
ceasing to be what it was before. Thus, fire is generated, and 
wood is corrupted, when the latter is burnt. But the implicit 
metaphor in the use of the terms likens substances to the human 
body, their production and destruction implies liability to disease, 
and thus prepares the way for the notion of the elixir, which is 
first a potion giving long life, and curing bodily ailments, and 
only after some time a remedy for diseased metals the philo- 
sopher's stone. 

It will be seen that the theory of the mediaeval alchemist was 
that matter is an entity filling all space, on which in different 
places different forms were impressed. The elements were a 
preliminary grouping of these, and might be present two, three, 
or four at a time in any substance. No attempt was ever 
made to separate these elements by scientific men, just as no 
attempt is ever made to isolate the ether of the physical specu- 
lations of to-day. The theory of modern physicists, with its 
ether and vortices, answers almost exactly to the matter and 
form of the ancients, the nature of the vortices conditioning 
matter. 

The extracts from Book XI. bring us to another class of sub- 
stances. All compound bodies are classified as imperfect or perfect. 
Imperfect compounds, or meteors, to some extent resemble elements. 
They are fiery, as the rainbow, or watery, as dew. Our extract 



16 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

on the rainbow is somewhat typical of the faults of ancient 
science. A note is taken of a rare occurrence a lunar rain- 
bow ; but in describing the common one, an error of the most 
palpable kind is made. The placing of blue as the middle and 
green as the lowest colour is obviously wrong, and is inexplicable 
if we did not know how facts were cut square with theories in 
old days. 

In the next extract Bartholomew's account of the spirits 
animating man is quoted at length. It gives us the mediaeval 
theory as to the means by which life, motion, and knowledge 
were shown in the body. Every reader of Shakespeare or 
Chaucer becomes familiar with the vital, animal, and natural 
spirits. They were supposed to communicate with all parts of 
the body by means of the arteries or wosen, " the nimble spirits in 
their arteries," and the sinews or nerves. The word sinew, by the 
way, is exactly equal to our word nerve, and ayenward, as our 
author would say. Hamlet, when he bursts from his friends, 
explains his vigour by the rush of the spirit into the arteries, 
which makes 

" Each petty artery of this body 
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve." 

The natural spirit is generated in the liver, the seat of digestion, 
" there where our nourishment is administered " ; it then passes to 
the heart, and manifests itself as the spirit of life ; from thence 
it passes to the brain, where it is the animal spirit " spirit ani- 
mate " Rossetti calls it dwelling in the brain. 

In the brain there are three ventricles or chambers, the 
foremost being the " cell fantastike '' of the " Knight's Tale," the 
second the logistic, and the third the chamber of memory, where 
" memory, the warder of the brain," keeps watch over the passage 



I? 

of the spirit into the " sinews " of moving. Into the foremost 
cell come all the perceptions of sight, hearing, etc., and thus we 
have the opportunity for 

" Fantasy, 
That plays upon our eyesight," 

to freak it on us. The pedant, Holofernes, in Love's Labour's 
Lost, characteristically puts the origin of his good things in the 
ventricle of memory. 

As a specimen of the physical science of the time the Editor 
gives extracts from the chapter on light. 

The introduction of extracts enough to give some idea of the 
mediaeval astronomy would have made such large demands on 
the patience of the reader that the Editor has decided with some 
regret to omit them altogether. The universe is considered to 
be a sphere, whose centre is the earth and whose circumference 
revolved about two fixed points. Our author does not decide 
the nice point in dispute between the philosophers and the 
theologians, the former holding that there is only one, the 
latter insisting on seven heavens the fairy, ethereal, olympian, 
fiery, firmament, watery, and empyrean. 

The firmament, that 

" Majestical roof, fretted with golden fire," 

is the part of heaven in which the planets move. It carries 
them round with it ; it governs the tides j it stood with men for 
the type of irresistible regularity. Each of the planets naturally 
has a motion of its own, contrary in direction to that of the 
firmament, which was from east to west. All the fixed stars 
move in circles whose centre is the centre of the universe, but 
the courses of the planets (among which the moon is reckoned) 

C 



1 8 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

depend on other circles, called eccentric, since their centre is 
elsewhere. Either the centre or the circumference of the circle 
in which the planet really moves is applied to the circumference 
of the eccentric circle, and in this way all the movements of the 
planets are fully explained. Our author is sorely puzzled to 
account for the existence of the watery heavens above the fiery, 
they being cold and moist, but is sure from scriptural reasons 
that they are there, and ventures the hypothesis that their 
presence may account for the sluggish and evil properties of 
Saturn, the planet whose circle is nearest them. 

Having considered the simpler substances, those composed of 
pure elemental forms, and those resembling them the meteors 
we turn to the perfect compounds, those which have assumed 
substantial forms, as metals, stones, etc. Our author retains the 
Aristotelian classification earthy, and those of other origin, as 
beasts, roots, and trees. Earths may be metals or fossils ; metals 
being defined as hard bodies, generated in the earth or in its 
veins, which can be beaten out by a hammer, and softened or 
liquefied by heat j while fossils include all other inanimate 
objects. 

A large number of extracts have been made from this part 
of the subject, because the book gives the position of positive, as 
distinguished from speculative, Alchemy at the time. It is the 
Editor's desire to show that at this period there was a system 
of theory based on the practical knowledge of the day. 

Chemistry took its rise as a science about four hundred years 
before our era. In the fragments of two of the four books of 
Democritus we have probably the earliest treatise on chemical 
matters we are ever likely to get hold of. Whether it is the 
work of Democritus or of a much later writer is uncertain. 
But merely taking it as a representative work of the early stage 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 19 

of chemistry, we remark that the receipts are practicable, and 
some of them, little modified, are in use to-day in goldsmith's 
shops. The fragments remaining to us are on the manufacture 
of gold and silver, and one receipt for dyeing purple. In this 
state of the science the collection of facts is the chief point, and 
no purely chemical theory seems to have been formed. Tradition, 
confirmed by the latest researches, associates this stage with 
Egypt. 

The second stage in the history of Chemistry the birth of 
Alchemy in the Western World occurred when the Egyptian 
practical receipts, the neo-Greek philosophies, and the Chinese 
dreams of an " elixir vitae " were fused into one by the Arab and 
Syriac writers. Its period of activity ranges from the seventh 
to the tenth centuries. Little is really known about it, or can 
be, until the Arabic texts, which are abundant in Europe, are 
translated and classified both from the scholar's and the chemist's 
standpoint. Many works were translated into Latin about the 
end of the tenth century, such as the spurious fourth book of the 
Meteoria of Aristotle, the treatises of the Turba Philosopharum, 
Artis Auriferte, etc., which formed the starting-point of European 
speculation. The theoretical chemistry of our author is derived 
from them. 

The third stage of chemistry begins with the fourteenth and 
ends with the sixteenth century. It is characterized by an 
immense growth of theory, a fertile imagination, and untiring 
industry. It reached its height in England about 1440, and is 
represented by the reputed works of Lully (vixit circ. 1300), 
which first appeared about this date. In this period practical 
alchemy is on its trial. 

The fourth stage begins with Boyle, and closes with the 
eighteenth century. Still under the dominion of theoretical 



20 MEDIEVAL LORE 

alchemy, practical alchemy was rejected by it, and its interest 
was concentrated on the collection of facts. It led up to modern 
chemistry, which begins with Lavoisier, and the introduction of 
the balance in the study of chemical change. 

Chemical theory, then, in our author's time stood somewhat 
thus. Metals as regarded their elemental composition were con- 
sidered to partake of the nature of earth, water, and air, in 
various proportions. Fossils, or those things generated in the 
earth which were not metals, were again subdivided into two 
classes those which liquefy on being heated, as sulphur, nitre, etc., 
and those which do not. The metals were considered to be com- 
posed of sulphur and mercury. These substances are themselves 
compounds, but they act as elements in the composition of 
metals. Sulphur represented their combustible aspect, and also 
that which gave them their solid form ; while mercury was that 
to which their weight and powers of becoming fluid were due. 

This theory was due to two main facts. Most ores of metals, 
especially of copper and lead, contain much sulphur, which can 
be either obtained pure from them, or be recognised by its smell 
when burning. This gave rise to the sulphur theory, while the 
presence of mercury was inferred doubtless from the resemblance 
of the more commonly molten metals, silver, tin, and lead, to 
quicksilver. The properties of each metal were then put down 
to the presence of these substances. The list of seven metals is 
that of the most ancient times gold, electrum, silver, copper, tin, 
lead, iron ; but it is clearly recognised that electrum is an alloy of 
gold and silver. 

Most of the facts in this book are derived from Pliny through 
Isidore, but, that the theory is Arab in origin, one fact alone 
would convince us. A consideration of the composition of the 
metals shows us that tin is nearest in properties of all metals to 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 21 

the precious ones, but tin is precisely the metal chosen by Arab 
alchemists as a starting-point in the Chrysopoeia. 

Beside their scientific interest these passages have supplied 
many analogies. When Troilus is piling up his lover's oaths to 
Cressida, his final words are : 

" As iron to adamant, as earth to centre j " 

our chapter on the adamant supplies the origin of this allusion 
in part, astronomy gives the other. Diamonds are still, unfortu- 
nately, the precious stones of reconciliation and of love our author 
bespeaks them. The editor has not lengthened the chapter by 
extracts giving the occult properties of gems, and has contented 
himself by quoting from the chapter on glass a new simile and an 
old story. 

MATTER and form are principles of all bodily 
things ; and privation of matter and form is naught 
else but destruction of all things. And the more 
subtle and high matter is in kind, the more able 
it is to receive form and shape. And the more 
thick and earthly it is, the more feeble is it to re- 
ceive impression, printing of forms and of shapes. 
And matter is principle and beginning of distinction, 
and of diversity, and of multiplying, and of things 
that are gendered. For the thing that gendereth 
and the thing that is gendered are not diverse but 
touching matter. And therefore where a thing is 
gendered without matter, the thing that gendereth, 



22 MEDIEVAL LORE 

and the thing that is gendered, are all one in 
substance and in kind : as it fareth of the persons in 
the Trinity. Of form is diversity, by the which 
one thing is diverse from another, and some form is 
essential, and some accidental. Essential form is 
that which cometh into matter, and maketh it 
perfect ; and accordeth therewith to the perfection 
of some thing. And when form is had, then the 
thing hath its being, and when form is destroyed 
nothing of the substance of the thing is found. 
And form accidental is not the perfection of things, 
nor giveth them being. But each form accidental 
needeth a form substantial. And each form is more 
simple and more actual and noble than matter. 
And so the form asketh that shall be printed in the 
matter, the matter ought to be disposed and also 
arrayed. For if fire shall be made of matter of earth, 
it needeth that the matter of earth be made subtle 
and pured and more simple. Form maketh matter 
known. Matter is cause that we see things that are 
made, and so nothing is more common and general 
than matter. And natheless nothing is more 
unknown than is matter ; for matter is never seen 
without form, nor form may not be seen in deed, but 
joined to matter. 



MEDIAEVAL SCIENCE 23 

Elements are simple, and the least particles of a 
body that is compound. And it is called least 
touching us, for it is not perceived by wits of feeling. 
For it is the least part and last in undoing of the 
body, as it is first in composition. And is called 
simple, not for an element is simple without any 
composition, but for it hath no parts that compound 
it, that be diverse in kind and in number as some 
medlied bodies have : as it fareth in metals of the 
which some parts be diverse ; for some part is air, 
and some is earth. But each part of fire is fire, and 
so of others. Elements are four, and so there are 
four qualities of elements, of the which every body 
is composed and made as of matter. The four 
elements are Earth, Water, Fire, and Air, of the 
which each hath his proper qualities. Four be 
called the first and principal qualities, that is, hot, 
cold, dry, and moist : they are called the first 
qualities because they slide first from the elements 
into the things that be made of elements. Two of 
these qualities are called Active heat and coldness. 
The others are dry and wetness and are called Passive. 

The Rainbow is impression gendered in an 
hollow cloud and dewy, disposed to rain in endless 



24 MEDIEVAL LORE 

many gutters, as it were shining in a mirror, and 
is shapen as a bow, and sheweth divers colours, and 
is gendered by the beams of the sun or of the moon. 
And is but seldom gendered by beams of the moon, 
no more but twice in fifty years, as Aristotle saith. 
In the rainbow by cause of its clearness be seen 
divers forms, kinds, and shapes that be contrary. 
Therefore the bow seemeth coloured, for, as Bede 
saith, it taketh colour of the four elements. For 
therein, as it were in any mirror, shineth figures and 
shapes and kinds of elements. For of fire he taketh 
red colour in the overmost part, and of earth green 
in the nethermost, and of the air a manner of brown 
colour, and of water somedeal blue in the middle. 
And first is red colour, that cometh out of a light 
beam, that touches the outer part of the roundness 
of the cloud : then is a middle colour somedeal blue, 
as the quality asketh, that hath mastery in the 
vapour, that is in the middle of the cloud. Then 
the nethermost seemeth a green colour in the nether 
part of a cloud ; there the vapour is more earthly. 
And these colours are more principal than others. 

As Beda saith, and the master of stories, forty years 
tofore the doom, the rainbow shall not be seen, and that 
shall be token of drying, and of default of elements. 



MEDIAEVAL SCIENCE 25 

And though dew be a manner of airy substance, 
and most subtle outward, natheless in a wonder 
manner it is strong in working and virtue. For it 
besprinkleth the earth, and maketh it plenteous, and 
maketh flour, pith, and marrow increase in corn 
and grains : and fatteth and bringeth forth broad 
oysters and other shell fish in the sea, and namely 
dew of spring time. For by night in spring time 
oysters open themselves against dew, and receive 
dew that cometh in between the two shells, and 
hold and keep it ; and that dew so holden and kept 
feedeth the flesh, and maketh it fat ; and by its 
incorporation with the inner parts of the fish 
breedeth a full precious gem, a stone that is called 
Margarita. Also the birds of ravens, while they are 
whitish in feathers, ere they are black, dew feedeth 
and sustaineth them, as Gregory saith. 

Fumosities that are drawn out of the waters and 
off the earth by strength of heat of heaven are drawn 
to the nethermost part of the middle space of the air, 
and there by coldness of the place they are made 
thick, and then by heat dissolving and departing the 
moisture thereof and not wasting all, these fumosities 
are resolved and fall and turn into rain and showers. 



z6 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

If rain be temperate in quality and quantity, and 
agreeable to the time, it is profitable to infinite 
things. For rain maketh the land to bear fruit, and 
joineth it together, if there be many chines therein, 
and assuageth and tempereth strength of heat, and 
cleareth the air, and ceaseth and stinteth winds, and 
fatteth fish, and helpeth and comforteth dry com- 
plexion. And if rain be evil and distemperate in 
its qualities, and discording to place and time, it 
is grievous and noyful to many things. For it 
maketh deepness and uncleanness and slipperiness 
in ways and in paths, and bringeth forth much 
unprofitable herbs and grass, and corrupteth and 
destroyeth fruit and seeds, and quencheth in seeds 
the natural heat, and maketh darkness and thick- 
ness in the air, and taketh from us the sun beams, 
and gathereth mist and clouds, and letteth the 
work of labouring men, and tarrieth and letteth 
ripening of corn and of fruits, and exciteth rheum 
and running flux, and increaseth and strengtheneth 
all moist ills, and is cause of hunger and of famine, 
and of corruption and murrain of beasts and sheep ; 
for corrupt showers do corrupt the grass and herbs 
of pasture, whereof cometh needful corruption of 
beasts. 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 27 

Of impressions that are gendered in the air of 
double vapour, the first is thunder, the which 
impression is gendered in watery substance of a 
cloud. For moving and shaking hither and thither 
of hot vapour and dry, that fleeth its contrary, is 
beset and constrained in every side, and smit into 
itself, and is thereby set on fire and on flame, and 
quencheth itself at last in the cloud, as Aristotle 
saith. When a storm of full strong winds cometh 
in to the clouds, and the whirling wind and the 
storm increaseth, and seeketh out passage : it 
cleaveth and breaketh the cloud, and falleth out 
with a great rese and strong, and all to breaketh the 
parts of the cloud, and so it cometh to the ears of 
men and of beasts with horrible and dreadful 
breaking and noise. And that is no wonder : for 
though a bladder be light, yet it maketh great noise 
and sound, if it be strongly blown, and afterward 
violently broken. And with the thunder cometh 
lightning, but lightning is sooner seen, for it is clear 
and bright ; and thunder cometh later to our ears, 
for the wit of sight is more subtle than the wit of 
hearing. As a man seeth sooner the stroke of a 
man that heweth a tree, than he heareth the noise of 
the stroke. 



z8 MEDIEVAL LORE 

The lightning which is called Clarum is of a 
wonderful kind, for it catcheth and draweth up 
wine out of the tuns, and toucheth not the vessel, 
and melteth gold and silver in purses, and melteth 
not the purse. 

As wits and virtues are needed to the ruling of 
kind, so to the perfection thereof needeth needly 
some spirits, by whose benefit and continual moving, 
both wits and virtues in beasts are ruled to work and 
do their deeds. As we speak here of a spirit, a 
spirit is called a certain substance, subtle and airy, 
that stirreth and exciteth the virtues of the body to 
their doings and works. A spirit is a subtle body, 
by the strength of heat gendered, and in man's body 
giving life by the veins of the body, and by the 
veins and pulses giveth to beasts, breath, life, and 
pulses, and working, wilful moving, and wit by 
means of sinews and muscles in bodies that have 
souls. Physicians say that this spirit is gendered in 
this manner wise. Whiles by heat working in the 
blood, in the liver is caused strong boiling and 
seething, and thereof cometh a smoke, the which is 
pured, and made subtle of the veins of the liver. 
And turneth into a subtle spiritual substance and 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 29 

airly kind, and that is called the natural spirit. 
For kindly by the might thereof it maketh the blood 
subtle. And by lightness thereof it moveth the 
blood and sendeth it about into all the limbs. And 
this same spirit turneth to heartward by certain 
veins. And there by moving and smiting together 
of the parts of the heart, the spirit is more pured, 
and turned into a more subtle kind. And then it is 
called of physicians the vital spirit : because that 
from the heart, by the wosen, and veins, and small 
ways, it spreadeth itself into all the limbs of the 
body, and increaseth the virtues spiritual, and 
ruleth and keepeth the works thereof. For out of 
a den of the left side of the heart cometh an artery 
vein, and in his moving is departed into two 
branches : the one thereof goeth downward, and 
spreadeth in many boughs, and sprays, by means of 
which the vital spirit is brought to give the life to 
all the nether limbs of the body. The other bough 
goeth upward, and is again departed in three 
branches. The right bough thereof goeth to the 
right arm, and the left bough to the left arm equally, 
and spreadeth in divers sprays. And so the vital 
spirit is spread into all the body and worketh in the 
artery veins the pulses of life. The middle bough 



30 MEDIEVAL LORE 

extendeth itself to the brain, and other higher parts 
and giveth life, and spreadeth the vital spirit in 
all the parts about. The same spirit piercing and 
passing forth to the dens of the brain, is there more 
directed and made subtle, and is changed into the 
animal spirit, which is more subtle than the other. 
And so this animal spirit is gendered in the foremost 
den of the brain, and is somewhat spread into 
the limbs of feeling. But yet nevertheless some 
part thereof abideth in the aforesaid dens, that 
common sense, the common wit, and the virtue 
imaginative may be made perfect. Then he 
passeth forth into the middle den that is called 
Logistic, to make the intellect and understanding 
perfect. And when he hath enformed the intellect, 
then he passeth forth to the den of memory, and 
bearing with him the prints of likeness, which are 
made in those other dens, he layeth them up in 
the chamber of memory. From the hindermost 
parts of the brain he pierceth and passeth by the 
marrow of the ridge bone, and cometh to the sinews 
of moving, that so wilful moving may be en- 
gendered, in all the parts of the nether body. Then 
one and the same spirit is named by divers names. 
For by working in the liver it is called the natural 



MEDIAEVAL SCIENCE 31 

spirit, in the heart the vital spirit, and in the head, 
the animal spirit. We may not believe that this 
spirit is man's reasonable soul, but more soothly, as 
saith Austin, the car therof and proper instrument. 
For by means of such a spirit the soul is joined to 
the body : and without the service of such a spirit, 
no act the soul may perfectly exercise in the body. 
And therefore if these spirits be impaired, or let of 
their working in any work, the accord of the body 
and soul is resolved, the reasonable spirit is let of all 
its works in the body. As it is seen in them that be 
amazed, and mad men and frantic, and in others 
that oft lose use of reason. 

The sight is most simple, for it is fiery, and 
knoweth suddenly things that be full far. The sight 
is shapen in this manner. In the middle of the eye, 
that is, the black thereof, is a certain humour most 
pure and clear. The philosophers call it crystalloid, 
for it taketh suddenly divers forms and shapes ol 
colours as crystal doth. The sight is a wit of per- 
ceiving and knowing of colours, figures, and shapes, 
and outer properties. Then to make the sight 
perfect, these things are needful, that is to wit, the 
cause efficient, the limb of the eye convenient to the 



32 MEDIEVAL LORE 

thing that shall be seen, the air that bringeth the 
likeness to the eye,*and taking heed, and easy moving. 
The cause efficient is that virtue that is called 
animal. The instrument and limb is the humour 
like crystal in either eye clear and round. It is clear 
that by the clearness thereof the eye may beshine 
the spirit, and air ; it is round that it be stronger to 
withstand griefs. The outer thing helping to work, 
is the air, without which being a means, the sight 
may not be perfect. It needeth to take heed, for if 
the soul be occupied about other things than longeth 
to the sight, the sight is the less perfect. For it 
deemeth not of the thing that is seen. And easy 
moving is needful, for if the thing that is seen 
moveth too swiftly, the sight is cumbered and 
disparcled with too swift and continual moving : 
as it is in an oar that seemeth broken in the water, 
through the swift moving of the water. In three 
manners the sight is made. One manner by straight 
lines, upon the which the likeness of the thing that 
is seen, cometh to the sight. Another manner, upon 
lines rebounded again : when the likeness of a thing 
cometh therefrom to a shewer, and is bent, and re- 
boundeth from the shewer to the sight. The third 
manner is by lines, the which though they be not 



MEDIAEVAL SCIENCE 33 

bent and rebounded, but stretched between the thing 
that is seen and the sight : yet they pass not always 
forthright, but other whiles they blench some 
whether, aside from the straight way. And that is 
when divers manners spaces of divers clearness and 
thickness be put between the sight and the thing 
that is seen. 

Aristotle rehearseth these five mean colours 
[between white and black] by name, and calleth the 
first yellow, and the second citrine, and the third 
red, the fourth purple, and the fifth green. 

In the book Meteorics, a little before the end, 
Aristotle saith that gold, as other metals, hath other 
matter of subtle brimstone and red, and of quicksilver 
subtle and white. In the composition thereof is 
more sadness of brimstone than of air and moisture 
of quicksilver, and therefore gold is more sad and 
heavy than silver. In composition of silver is more 
commonly quicksilver than white brimstone. Then 
among metals nothing is more sad in substance, or 
more better compact than gold. And therefore 
though it be put in fire, it wasteth not by smoking 
and vapours, nor lesseth not the weight, and so it is 

D 



34 MEDIEVAL LORE 

not wasted in fire, but if it be melted with strong 
heat, then if any filth be therein, it is cleansed thereof. 
And that maketh the gold more pure and shining. 
No metal stretcheth more with hammer work than 
gold, for it stretcheth so, that between the anvil and 
the hammer without breaking and rending in pieces 
it stretcheth to gold foil. And among metals there 
is none fairer in sight than gold, and therefore among 
painters gold is chief and fairest in sight, and so it 
embellisheth colour and shape, and colour of other 
metals. Also among metals is nothing so effectual 
in virtue as gold. Plato describeth the virtue thereof 
and saith that it is more temperate and pure than 
other metals. For it hath virtue to comfort and for 
to cleanse superfluities gathered in bodies. And 
therefore it helpeth against leprosy and meselry. 
The filings of gold taken in meat or in drink or in 
medicine, preserve and let breeding of leperhood, or 
namely hideth it and maketh it unknown. 

Orpiment is a vein of the earth, or a manner of 
free stone that cleaveth and breaketh, and it is like 
to gold in colour : and this is called Arsenic by 
another name, and is double, red and citron. It 
hath kind of brimstone, of burning and drying. And 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 35 

if it be laid to brass, it maketh the brass white, and 
burncth and wasteth all bodies of metal, out take 
gold. 

Though silver be white yet it maketh black lines 
and strakes in the body that is scored therewith. In 
composition thereof is quicksilver and white brim- 
stone, and therefore it is not so heavy as gold. There 
are two manner of silvers, simple and compound. 
The simple is fleeting, and is called quicksilver ; the 
silver compounded is massy and sad, and is com- 
pounded of quicksilver pure and clean, and of white 
brimstone, not burning, as Aristotle saith. 

Quicksilver is a watery substance medlied strongly 
with subtle earthly things, and may not be dissolved : 
and that is for great dryness of earth that melteth 
not on a plain thing. Therefore it cleaveth not to 
thing that it toucheth, as doth the thing that is 
watery. The substance thereof is white : and that 
is for clearness of clear water, and for whiteness of 
subtle earth that is well digested. Also it hath white- 
ness of medlying of air with the aforesaid things. 
Also quicksilver hath the property that it curdeth not 
by itself kindly without brimstone : but with brim- 
stone, and with substance of lead, it is congealed and 



36 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

fastened together. And therefore it is said, that 
quicksilver and brimstone is the element, that is to 
wit matter, of which all melting metal is made. 
Quicksilver is matter of all metal, and therefore in 
respect of them it is a simple element. Isidore saith 
it is fleeting, for it runneth and is specially found in 
silver forges as it were drops of silver molten. And 
it is oft found in old dirt of sinks, and in slime of 
pits. And also it is made of minium done in caverns 
of iron, and a patent or a shell done thereunder ; 
and the vessel that is anointed therewith, shall be be- 
clipped with burning coals, and then the quicksilver 
shall drop. Without this silver nor gold nor latten 
nor copper may be overgilt. And it is of so great 
virtue and strength, that though thou do a stone of an 
hundred pound weight upon quicksilver of the weight 
of two pounds, the quicksilver anon withstandeth 
the weight. And if thou doest thereon a scruple 
of gold, it ravisheth unto itself the lightness thereof. 
And so it appeareth it is not weight, but nature to 
which it obeyeth. It is best kept in glass vessels, 
for it pierceth, boreth, and fretteth other matters. 

If an adamant be set by iron, it suffereth not the 
iron to come to the magnet, but it draweth it by a 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 37 

manner of violence from the magnet, so that though 
the magnet draweth iron to itself, the adamant 
draweth it away from the magnet. It is called a 
precious stone of reconciliation and of love. For if 
a woman be away from her housebond, or trespasseth 
against him : by virtue of this stone, she is the sooner 
reconciled to have grace of her husband. 



Crystal is a bright stone and clear, with watery 
colour. Men trowe that it is of snow or ice made 
hard in space of many years. This stone set in the 
sun taketh fire, insomuch if dry tow be put thereto, 
it setteth the tow on fire. That crystal materially is 
made of water, Gregory on Ezekiel i. saith : water, 
saith he, is of itself fleeting, but by strength of cold 
it is turned and made stedfast crystal. And hereof 
Aristotle telleth the cause in his Meteorics : there he 
saith that stony things of substance of ore are water 
in matter. Ricardus Rufus saith : stone ore is of 
water : but for it hath more of dryness of earth than 
things that melt, therefore they were not frozen only 
with coldness of water, but also by dryness of earth 
that is mingled therewith, when the watery part of the 
earth and glassy hath mastery on the water, and the 



38 MEDIEVAL LORE 

aforesaid cold hath the victory and mastery. And so 
Saint Gregory his reason is true, that saith, that 
crystal may be gendered of water. 

In old time or the use of iron was known, men 
eared land with brass, and fought therewith in war 
and battle. That time gold and silver were forsaken, 
and gold is now in the most worship, so age that 
passeth and vadeth changeth times of things. Brass 
and copper are made in this manner as other metals 
be, of brimstone and quicksilver, and that happeneth 
when there is more of brimstone than of quicksilver, 
and the brimstone is earthy and not pure, with red 
colour and burning, and quicksilver is mean and not 
subtle. Of such medlying brass is gendered. 

Electrum is a metal and hath that name, for in 
the sunbeam it shineth more clear than gold or silver. 
And this metal is more noble than other metals. 
And hereof are three manners of kinds. The third 
manner is made of three parts of gold, and of the 
fourth of silver : and kind electrum is of that kind, 
for in twinkling and in light it shineth more clear 
than all other metal, and warneth of venom, for if 
one dip it therein, it maketh a great chinking noise, 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 39 

and changeth oft into divers colours as the rainbow, 
and that suddenly. 

Heliotrope is a precious stone, and is green, and 
sprinkled with red drops, and veins of the colour of 
blood. If it be put in water before the sunbeams, it 
maketh the water seethe in the vessel that it is in, 
and resolveth it as it were into mist, and soon after it 
is resolved into rain-drops. Also it seemeth that 
this same stone may do wonders, for if it be put in a 
basin with clear water, it changeth the sunbeams by 
rebounding of the air, and seemeth to shadow them, 
and breedeth in the air red and sanguine colour, as 
though the sun were in eclypse and darkened. An 
herb of the same name, with certain enchantments, 
doth beguile the sight of men that look thereon, and 
maketh a man that beareth it not to be seen. 

Though iron cometh of the earth, yet it is most 
hard and sad, and therefore with beating and 
smiting it suppresseth and dilateth all other metal, 
and maketh it stretch on length and on breadth. 
Iron is gendered of quicksilver thick and not clean, 
full of earthy holes, and of brimstone, great and 
boisterous and not pure. In composition of iron is 



40 MEDIEVAL LORE 

more of the aforesaid brimstone than of quicksilver, 
and so for mastery of cold and dry and of earthy 
matter, iron is dry and cold and full well hard, and 
is compact together in its parts. And for iron hath 
less of airy and watery moisture than other metals : 
therefore it is hard to resolve and make it again to 
be nesh in fire. Use of iron is more needful to men 
in many things than use of gold : though covetous 
men love more gold than iron. Without iron the 
commonalty be not sure against enemies, without 
dread of iron the common right is not governed ; 
with iron innocent men are defended : and fool- 
hardiness of wicked men is chastised with dread of 
iron. And well nigh no handiwork is wrought with- 
out iron : no field is eared without iron, neither 
tilling craft used, nor building builded without iron. 
And therefore Isidore saith that iron hath its name 
ferrum, for that thereby farra, that is corn and seed, 
is tilled and sown. For, without iron, bread is not 
won of the earth, nor bread is not departed when it 
is ready without iron convenably to man's use. 

Of lead are two manner of kinds, white and 
black, and the white is the better, and was first found 
in the islands of the Atlantic Sea in old time, and is 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 41 

now found in many places. For in France and in 
Portugal is a manner of black earth found full of 
gravel and of small stones, and is washed and blown, 
and so of that matter cometh the substance of lead. 
Also in gold quarries with matter of gold are small 
stones found, and are gathered with the gold, and 
blown by themselves, and turn all to lead, and there- 
fore gold is as heavy as lead. But of black lead is 
double kind. For black lead cometh alone of a vein, 
or is gendered of silver in medlied veins, and is 
blown, and in blowing first cometh tin, and then 
silver, and then what leaveth is blown and turneth 
into black lead. Aristotle saith that of brimstone 
that is boisterous and not swiftly pured, but troublous 
and thick, and of quicksilver, the substance of lead 
is gendered, and is gendered in mineral places ; so of 
uncleanness of impure brimstone lead hath a manner 
of neshness, and smircheth his hand that toucheth it. 
And with wiping and cleansing, this uncleanness of 
lead may be taken away for a time, but never for 
always ; a man may wipe off the uncleanness but 
alway it is lead although it seemeth silver. But 
strange qualities have mastery therein and beguile 
men, and make them err therein. Some men take 
Sal Ammoniac (to cleanse it) as Aristotle saith, and 



42 MEDIEVAL LORE 

assigneth the cause of this uncleanness and saith, that 
in boisterous lead is evil quicksilver heavy and 
fenny. Also that brimstone thereof is evil vapour 
and stinking. Therefore it freezeth not well at full. 
Hermes saith that lead in boiling undoeth the hard- 
ness of all sad and hard bodies, and also of the stone 
adamant. Aristotle speaketh of lead in the Meteorics 
and saith that lead without doubt when it is molten 
is as quicksilver, but it melteth not without heat, and 
then all that is molten seemeth red. Wonder it is 
that though lead be pale or brown, yet by burning or 
by refudation of vinegar oft it gendereth seemly colour 
and fair, as tewly, red, and such other ; therewith 
women paint themselves for to seem fair of colour. 

The sapphire is a precious stone, and is blue in 
colour, most like to heaven in fair weather, and clear, 
and is best among precious stones, and most apt and 
able to fingers of kings. Its virtue is contrary to 
venom and quencheth it every deal. And if thou 
put an addercop in a box, and hold a very sapphire 
of Ind at the mouth of the box any while, by virtue 
thereof the addercop is overcome and dieth, as it 
were suddenly. And this same I have seen proved 
oft in many and divers places. 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 43 

Tin in fire departeth metals of divers kind, and it 
departeth lead and brass from gold and silver, and 
defendeth other metals in hot fire. And though 
brass and iron be most hard in kind, yet if they be in 
strong fire without tin, they burn and waste away. 
If brazen vessels be tinned, the tin abateth the 
venom of rust, and amendeth the savour. Also 
mirrors be tempered with tin, and white colour that 
is called Ceruse is made of tin, as it is made of lead. 
Aristotle saith that tin is compounded of good quick- 
silver and of evil brimstone. And these twain be 
not well medlied but in small parts compounded, 
therefore tin hath colour of silver but not the sadness 
thereof. In the book of Alchemy Hermes saith, 
that tin breaketh all metals and bodies that it is 
medlied with, and that for the great dryness of tin. 
And destroyeth in metal the kind that is obedient 
to hammer work. And if thou medliest quicksilver 
therewith, it withstandeth the crassing thereof and 
maketh it white, but afterward it maketh it black and 
defileth it. Also there it is said that burnt tin 
gendereth red colour, as lead doth ; and if the fire 
be strong, the first matter of tin cometh soon again. 
Also though tin be more nesh than silver, and more 
hard than lead, yet lead may not be soon soldered to 



44 MEDIEVAL LORE 

lead nor to brass nor to iron without tin. Neither 
may these be soldered without grease or tallow. 

Brimstone is a vein of the earth and hath much 
air and fire in its composition. Of brimstone there 
are four kinds. One is called vivum, the which 
when it is digged, shineth and flourisheth, the which 
only among all the kinds thereof physicians use. 
Avicenna means that brimstone is hot and dry in the 
fourth degree, and is turned into kind of brimstone 
in part of water, of earth, and of fire, and that brim- 
stone is sometimes great and boisterous and full of 
drausts, and sometimes pure white, clear and subtle, 
and sometimes mean between both. And by this 
diverse disposition, divers metals are gendered of 
brimstone and of quicksilver. 

Glass, as Avicen saith, is among stones as a fool 
among men, for it taketh all manner of colour and 
painting. Glass was first found beside Ptolomeida' 
in the cliff beside the river that is called Vellus, that 
springeth out of the foot of Mount Carmel, at which 
shipmen arrived. For upon the gravel of that river 
shipmen made fire of clods medlied with bright gravel, 
and thereof ran streams of new liquor, that was the 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 45 

beginning of glass. It is so pliant that it taketh 
anon divers and contrary shapes by blast of the 
glazier, and is sometimes beaten, and sometimes 
graven as silver. And no matter is more apt to make 
mirrors than is glass, or to receive painting ; and if 
it be broken it may not be amended without melting 
again. But long time past, there was one that made 
glass pliant, which might be amended and wrought 
with an hammer, and brought a vial made of such 
glass tofore Tiberius the Emperor, and threw it 
down on the ground, and it was not broken but bent 
and folded. And he made it right and amended it 
with an hammer. Then the emperor commanded to 
smite off his head anon, lest that his craft were 
known. For then gold should be no better than fen, 
and all other metal should be of little worth, for 
certain if glass vessels were not brittle, they should 
be accounted of more value than vessels of gold. 

All the planets move by double moving ; by 
their own kind moving out of the west into the east, 
against the moving of the firmament ; and by other 
moving out of the east into the west, and that by 
ravishing of the firmament. By violence of the 
firmament they are ravished every day out of the 
east into the west. And by their kindly moving, by 



46 MEDIEVAL LORE 

the which they labour to move against the firmament, 
some of them fulfil their course in shorter time, and 
some in longer time. And that is for their courses 
are some more and some less. For Saturn abideth in 
every sign xxx months, and full endeth its course 
in xxx years. Jupiter dwelleth in every sign one 
year, and full endeth its course in xij years. Mars 
abideth in every sign xlv days, and full endeth its 
course in two years. The sun abideth in every sign 
xxx days and ten hours and a half, and full endeth 
its course in ccclxv days and vj hours. Mercury 
abideth in every sign xxviij days and vj hours, and 
full endeth its course in cccxxxviij days. Venus 
abideth in every sign 29 days, and full endeth its 
course in 348 days. The moon abideth in every 
sign two days and a half, and six hours and one bisse 
less, and full endeth its course from point to point in 
27 days and 8 hours. And by entering and out 
passing of these 7 stars into the 12 signs and out 
thereof everything that is bred and corrupt in this 
nether world is varied and disposed, and therefore in 
the philosopher's book Mesalath it is read in this 
manner : " The Highest made the world to the like- 
ness of a sphere, and made the highest circle above 
it moveable in the earth, pight and stedfast in the 



MEDIEVAL SCIENCE 47 

middle thereof; not withdrawing toward the left 
side, nor toward the right side, and set the other 
elements moveable, and made them move by the 
moving of 7 planets, and all other stars help the 
planets in their working and kind." Every creature 
upon Earth hath a manner inclination by the moving 
of the planets, and destruction cometh by moving 
and working of planets. The working of them 
varieth and is diverse by diversity of climates and 
countries. For they work one manner of thing about 
the land of blue men, and another about the land 
and country of Slavens. ... In the signs the 
planets move and abate with double moving, and 
move by accidental ravishing of the firmament out of 
the East into the West ; and by kindly moving, the 
which is double, the first and the second. The first 
moving is the round moving that a planet maketh in 
its own circle, and passeth never the marks and 
bounds of the circle. The second moving is that he 
maketh under the Zodiac, and passeth alway like 
great space in a like space of time. And the first 
moving of a planet is made in its own circle that is 
called Eccentric, and it is called so for the earth is 
not the middle thereof, as it is the middle of the 
circle that is called Zodiac. Epicycle is a little 



48 MEDLEVAL LORE 

circle that a planet describeth, and goeth about 
therein by the moving of its body, and the body of 
the planet goeth about the roundness thereof. And 
therefore it sheweth, that the sun and other planets 
move in their own circles ; and first alike swift, 
though they move diversely in divers circles. Also 
in these circles the manner moving of planets is full 
wisely found of astronomers, that are called Direct, 
Stationary, and Retrograde Motion. Forthright 
moving is in the over part of the circle that is called 
Epicycle, backward is in the nether part, and stinting 
and abiding or hoving is in the middle. 



II 

MEDIAEVAL MANNERS 

THE sixth book of our author deals with the conditions of 
man, passing in review youth and age, male and female, 
serf and lord. Our extracts from it fall into three groups. 

The first deals in great measure with the relations of family 
life. We have an account of the boy and the girl (as they appeared 
to a friar " of orders grey "), the infant and its nurse. However 
we may suspect Bartholomew of wishing to provide a text in his 
account of the bad boy, it is consoling to find that the "enfant 
terrible " had his counterpart in the thirteenth century, as well as 
the maiden known to us all, who is " demure and soft of speech, 
but well ware of what she says." 

The second group presents mediaeval society to us under the 
influence of chivalry. Suitably enough, we have beside each 
other most lifelike pictures of the base and superstructure of the 
system. This, the man free, generous ; that, the serf vile, 
ungrateful, kept in order by fear alone, but the necessary counter- 
part of the splendid figure of his master. One of our writers to- 
day has regretted the absence of a chapter in praise of the good 
man to set beside Solomon's picture of the virtuous woman. 
Bartholomew has certainly endeavoured in the two chapters 

49 E 



50 MEDIEVAL LORE 

quoted here, "Of a Man," and "Of a Good Lord," to picture the 
ideal good man of chivalrous times. It may, however, be per- 
mitted those of us who look at the system from underneath, to 
sympathise with our fellows who struggled to free themselves from 
bondage under Tyler and John Ball at least as much as with 
their splendid oppressors, and to recognise that the feudal system, 
however necessary in the thirteenth century, lost its value when 
its lords had ceased to be such good lords as our author describes. 
The third group would naturally consist of passages illustrating 
the daily life of our ancestors, but the editor has found some 
difficulty in getting together passages enough for the purpose 
without trenching on the confines of other chapters. He has 
accordingly left them scattered over the book, persuaded that the 
reader will feel their import better when they are seen in their 
context. Such a book as this is not open to the objections urged 
against pictures of mediaeval life drawn from romances, that the 
situations are invented and the manners suited to the situation. 
Here all is true, and written with no other aim than that of 
utilising knowledge common to all. Everywhere through these 
extracts little statements a few words in most cases crop up 
giving us information of this kind ; but it would be impossible to 
do more than allude to them. Leaving our reader to notice them 
as they are met with, the description of a mediaeval dinner 
concludes the chapter. The chapter describing a supper which 
follows it in the original is too long for quotation, and is vitiated 
by a desire to draw analogies. But one feature is noteworthy : 
Among the properties of a good supper, " the ninth is plenty of 
light of candles, and of prickets, and of torches. For it is shame 
to sup in darkness, and perillous also for flies and other filth. 
Therefore candles and prickets are set on candlesticks and 
chandeliers, lanterns and lamps are necessary to burn." This 



MEDIEVAL MANNERS 51 

little touch gives us the reverse of the picture, and reminds us of 
the Knight of the Tower's caution to his daughters about their 
behaviour at a feast. 

SUCH children be nesh of flesh, lithe and pliant of 
body, able and light to moving, witty to learn. And 
lead their lives without thought and care. And set 
their courages only of mirth and liking, and dread 
no perils more than beating with a rod : and they 
love an apple more than gold. When they be 
praised, or shamed, or blamed, they set little thereby. 
Through stirring and moving of the heat of the flesh 
and of humours, they be lightly and soon wroth, and 
soon pleased, and lightly they forgive. And for 
tenderness of body they be soon hurt and grieved, 
and may not well endure hard travail. Since all 
children be latched with evil manners, and think 
only on things that be, and reck not of things that 
shall be, they love plays, game, and vanity, and 
forsake winning and profit. And things most worthy 
they repute least worthy, and least worthy most 
worthy. They desire things that be to them 
contrary and grievous, and set more of the image of 
a child, than of the image of a man, and make more 
sorrow and woe, and weep more for the loss of an 
apple, than for the loss of their heritage. And the 



52 MEDIEVAL LORE 

goodness that is done for them, they let it pass out 
of mind. They desire all things that they see, and 
pray and ask with voice and with hand. They love 
talking and counsel of such children as they be, and 
void company of old men. They keep no counsel, 
but they tell all that they hear or see. Suddenly they 
laugh, and suddenly they weep. Always they cry, 
jangle, and jape ; that unneth they be still while 
they sleep. When they be washed of filth, anon 
they defile themselves again. When their mother 
washeth and combeth them, they kick and sprawl, 
and put with feet and with hands, and withstand 
with all their might. They desire to drink always, 
unneth they are out of bed, when they cry for meat 



Men behove to take heed of maidens : for they 
be tender of complexion ; small, pliant and fair of 
disposition of body : shamefast, fearful, and merry. 
Touching outward disposition they be well nurtured, 
demure and soft of speech, and well ware of what 
they say : and delicate in their apparel. And for a 
woman is more meeker than a man, she weepeth 
sooner. And is more envious, and more laughing, 
and loving, and the malice of the soul is more in a 



MEDIEVAL MANNERS 53 

woman than in a man. And she is of feeble kind, 
and she maketh more lesings, and is more shamefast, 
and more slow in working and in moving than is a 
man. 

A nurse hath that name of nourishing, for she is 
ordained to nourish and to feed the child, and 
therefore like as the mother, the nurse is glad if the 
child be glad, and heavy, if the child be sorry, and 
taketh the child up if it fall, and giveth it suck : if 
it weep she kisseth and lulleth it still, and gathereth 
the limbs, and bindeth them together, and doth 
cleanse and wash it when it is defiled. And for it 
cannot speak, the nurse lispeth and soundeth the 
same words to teach more easily the child that can- 
not speak. And she useth medicines to bring the 
child to convenable estate if it be sick, and lifteth it 
up now on her shoulders, now on her hands, now on 
her knees and lap, and lifteth it up if it cry or weep. 
And she cheweth meat in her mouth, and maketh it 
ready to the toothless child, that it may the easilier 
swallow that meat, and so she feedeth the child when 
it is an hungered, and pleaseth the child with whisper- 
ing and songs when it shall sleep, and swatheth it in 
sweet clothes, and righteth and stretcheth out its 



54 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

limbs, and bindeth them together with cradlebands, 
to keep and save the child that it have no miscrooked 
limbs. She batheth and anointeth it with good 
anointments. 

A servant woman is ordained to learn the wife's 
rule, and is put to office and work of travail, toiling, 
and slubbering. And is fed with gross meat and 
simple, and is clothed with clothes, and kept low 
under the yoke of thraldom and serfage ; and if she 
conceive a child, it is thrall or it be born, and is 
taken from the mother's womb to serfage. Also if 
a serving woman be of bond condition, she is not 
suffered to take a husband at her own will ; and he 
that weddeth her, if he be free afore, he is made 
bond after the contract. A bond servant woman is 
bought and sold like a beast. And if a bond servant 
man or woman be made free, and afterwards be un- 
kind, he shall be called and brought again into 
charge of bondage and of thraldom. Also a bond 
servant suffereth many wrongs, and is beat with rods, 
and constrained and held low with diverse and 
contrary charges and travails among wretchedness and 
woe. Unneth he is suffered to rest or to take 
breath. And therefore among all wretchedness 



MEDIEVAL MANNERS 55 

and woe the condition of bondage and thraldom is 
most wretched. It is one property of bond serving 
women, and of them that be of bond condition, to 
grudge and to be rebel and unbuxom to their lords 
and ladies, as saith Rabanus. And when they be 
not held low with dread, their hearts swell, and wax 
stout and proud, against the commandments of their 
sovereigns. Dread maketh bond men and women 
meek and low, and goodly love maketh them proud 
and stout and despiteful. 

A man is called Vir in Latin, and hath that name 
of might and strength. For in might and strength a 
man passeth a woman. A man is the head of a 
woman, as the apostle saith. And therefore a man 
is bound to rule his wife, as the head hath charge 
and rule of the body. And a man is called Maritus, 
as it were warding and defending Matrem, the 
mother, for he taketh ward and keeping of his wife, 
that is mother of the children. And is called 
Sponsus also, and hath that name of Spondere, for 
that he behoveth and obligeth himself. For in the 
contract of wedding he plighteth his troth to lead 
his life with his wife without departing, and to pay 
her his debt, and to keep her and love her afore all 



56 MEDIEVAL LORE 

other. A man hath so great love to his wife that for 
her sake he adventureth himself to all perils ; and 
setteth her love afore his mother's love ; for he 
dwelleth with his wife, and forsaketh father and 
mother. Afore wedding, the spouse thinketh to win 
love of her that he wooeth with gifts, and certified! 
of his will with letters and messengers, and with 
divers presents, and giveth many gifts, and much 
good and cattle, and promiseth much more. And 
to please her he putteth him to divers plays and 
games among gatherings of men, and useth oft deeds 
of arms, of might, and of mastery. And maketh him 
gay and seemly in divers clothing and array. And all 
that he is prayed to give and to do for her love, he 
giveth and doth anon with all his might. And 
denieth no petition that is made in her name and for 
her love. He speaketh to her pleasantly, and 
beholdeth her cheer in the face with pleasing and 
glad cheer, and with a sharp eye, and at last assenteth 
to her, and telleth openly his will in presence of her 
friends, and spouseth her with a ring, and giveth her 
gifts in token of contract of wedding, and maketh 
her charters, and deeds of grants and of gifts. He 
maketh revels and feasts and spousals, and giveth 
many good gifts to friends and guests, and comforteth 



MEDIEVAL MANNERS 57 

and gladdeth his guests with songs and pipes and other 
minstrelsy of music. And afterward, when all this 
is done, he bringeth her to the privities of his 
chamber, and maketh her fellow at bed and at board. 
And then he maketh her lady of his money, and of 
his house, and meinie. And then he is no less 
diligent and careful for her than he is for himself: 
and specially lovingly he adviseth her if she do 
amiss, and taketh good heed to keep her well, and 
taketh heed of her bearing and going, of her speaking 
and looking, of her passing and ayencoming, out and 
home. No man hath more wealth, than he that 
hath a good woman to his wife, and no man hath 
more woe, than he that hath an evil wife, crying 
and jangling, chiding and scolding, drunken, 
lecherous, and unsteadfast, and contrary to him, 
costly, stout and gay, envious, noyful, leaping over 
lands, much suspicious, and wrathful. In a good 
spouse and wife behoveth these conditions, that she 
be busy and devout in God's service, meek and 
serviceable to her husband, and fair-speaking and 
goodly to her meinie, merciful and good to wretches 
that be needy, easy and peaceable to her neighbours, 
ready, wary, and wise in things that should be 
avoided, mightiful and patient in suffering, busy and 



58 MEDLEVAL LORE 

diligent in her doing, mannerly in clothing, sober in 
moving, wary in speaking, chaste in looking, honest 
in bearing, sad in going, shamefast among the people, 
merry and glad with her husband, and chaste in 
privity. Such a wife is worthy to be praised, that 
entendeth more to please her husband with such 
womanly dues, than with her braided hairs, and 
desireth more to please him with virtues than with 
fair and gay clothes, and useth the goodness of 
matrimony more because of children than of fleshly 
liking, and hath more liking to have children of 
grace than of kind. 

A man loveth his child and feedeth and nourisheth 
it, and setteth it at his own board when it is weaned. 
And teacheth him in his youth with speech and 
words, and chasteneth him with beating, and setteth 
him and putteth him to learn under ward and keep- 
ing of wardens and tutors. And the father sheweth 
him no glad cheer, lest he wax proud, and he loveth 
most the son that is like to him, and looketh oft on 
him. And giveth to his children clothing, meat and 
drink as their age requireth, and purchaseth lands 
and heritage for his children, and ceaseth not to 
make it more and more. And entaileth his pur- 
chase, and leaveth it to his heirs. . . . The child 



MEDIEVAL MANNERS 59 

cometh of the substance of father and mother, and 
taketh of them feeding and nourishing, and profiteth 
not, neither liveth, without help of them. The 
more the father loveth his child, the more busily he 
teacheth and chastiseth him and holdeth him the 
more strait under chastising and lore ; and when the 
child is most loved of the father it seemeth that he 
loveth him not ; for he beateth and grieveth him oft 
lest he draw to evil manners and tatches, and the 
more the child is like to the father, the better the 
father loveth him. The father is ashamed if he hear 
any foul thing told by his children. The father's 
heart is sore grieved, if his children rebel against him. 
In feeding and nourishing of their children stands 
the most business and charge of the parents. 

Some servants be bond and born in bondage, and 
snch have many pains by law. For they may not 
sell nor give away their own good and cattle, nother 
make contracts, nother take office of dignity, nother 
bear witness without leave of their lords. Where- 
fore though they be not in childhood, they be oft 
punished with pains of childhood. Other servants 
there be, the which being taken with strangers and 
aliens and with enemies be bought and sold, and held 



60 MEDIEVAL LORE 

low under the yoke of thraldom. The third manner 
of servants be bound freely by their own good will, 
and serve for reward and for hire. And these 
commonly be called Famuli. 

The name lord is a name of sovereignty, of power, 
and of might. For without a lord might not the 
common profit stand secure, neither the company of 
men might be peaceable and quiet. For if power 
and might of rightful lords were withholden and taken 
away, then were malice free, and goodness and 
innocence never secure, as saith Isidore. A rightful 
lord, by way of rightful law, heareth and determineth 
causes, pleas, and strifes, that be between his sub- 
jects, and ordaineth that every man have his own, 
and draweth his sword against malice, and putteth 
forth his shield of righteousness, to defend innocents 
against evil doers, and delivereth small children and 
such as be fatherless, and motherless, and widows, of 
them that overset them. And he pursueth robbers 
and rievers, thieves, and other evil doers. And useth 
his power not after his own will, but he ordaineth 
and disposeth it as the law asketh. ... By reason 
of one good king and one good lord, all a country is 
worshipped, and dreaded, and enhanced also. Also 



MEDIAEVAL MANNERS 61 

this name lord is a name of peace and surety. For 
a good lord ceaseth war, battle, and fighting ; and 
accordeth them that be in strife. And so under a 
good, a strong, and a peaceable lord, men of the 
country be secure and safe. For there dare no man 
assail his lordship, ne in no manner break his peace. 

Meat and drink be ordained and convenient to 
dinners and to feasts, for at feasts first meat is pre- 
pared and arrayed, guests be called together, forms 
and stools be set in the hall, and tables, cloths, 
and towels be ordained, disposed, and made ready. 
Guests be set with the lord in the chief place of the 
board, and they sit not down at the board before the 
guests wash their hands. Children be set in their 
place, and servants at a table by themselves. First 
knives, spoons, and salts be set on the board, and then 
bread and drink, and many divers messes ; household 
servants busily help each other to do everything 
diligently, and talk merrily together. The guests be 
gladded with lutes and harps. Now wine and now 
messes of meat be brought forth and departed. At 
the last cometh fruit and spices, and when they have 
eaten, board, cloths, and relief are borne away, and 
guests wash and wipe their hands again. Then grace 



62 MEDIEVAL LORE 

is said, and guests thank the lord. Then for glad- 
ness and comfort drink is brought yet again. When 
all this is done at meat, men take their leave, and 
some go to bed and sleep, and some go home to their 
own lodgings. 



Ill 



THE seventh book of the " De Proprietatibus " treats of the 
human body and its ailments. At first glance it might 
seem that such a subject would be repulsive, either in 
matter or handling, to the general reader of to-day, but it will, we 
think, be found that there are many points of interest in it for us, 
some of which we proceed to indicate. Mankind has always felt a 
deep interest in certain diseases, to which we are even now subject, 
and so parts of the chapters on leprosy and hydrophobia have been 
reproduced. The accounts given of frenzy and madness interest 
us both as a picture of the change in manners, as art example of 
the methods of cure proposed, and as throwing light on many 
passages. Thus Chaucer, speaking of Arcite, describes his passion 
as compounded of melancholy which deprives him of reason, over- 
flowing into the foremost cell of his brain, the cell fantastic, and 
causing him to act as if mad. 

" Nought oonly lyke the loveres maladye 
Of Hereos, but rather lyk manye, 
Engendered of humour malencolyk 
Byforen in his selle fantastyk." K. T., 515, etc. 

Physicians recommend music as a cure in mental troubles, but 
63 



64 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

that it is no new discovery is attested by Shakespeare and our 
author. Compare what Bartholomew says of the voice, with 
Richard's speech : 

" This music mads me, let it sound no more, 
For though it have help madmen to their wits, 
In me it seems it will make wise men mad." 

The origin of the brutality towards madmen warred against by 
Charles Reade, and described in " Romeo and Juliet " 

" Not mad, but bound more than a madman is, 
Shut up in prison, kept without my food, 
Whipp'd and tormented " 

is seen in our extracts, which recall, too, in their insistence on 
bleeding the " head vein," Juvenal's remark on his friend about to 
marry : " O medici, mediam pertundite venam." 

Some space has already been devoted (p. 28) to the physiology 
of the human body, but this chapter would not be complete if we 
did not devote some space to the explanations given of the working 
of the heart, veins, and arteries, at a time when the circulation of 
the blood was unknown. It may not be amiss to remind the 
reader that arteries carry blood from the heart, to which it is 
returned by the veins, after passing through a fine network of 
tubes called the capillaries. 

Turning to what may be called the popular physiology of the 
time, we may note the change, since mediaeval times, in the 
allocation of properties to the organs of the body. In our days, 
the heart and brain set aside, we find no organ mentioned in 
connection with the various faculties of the body, while up to 
Shakespeare's time each organ had its passion. Some of these 
emotions have much changed their seats. True love, which now 



MEDIAEVAL MEDICINE 65 

reigns over the heart, then took its rise in the liver. The friar 
in " Much Ado about Nothing " says of Claudio, " If ever love had 
interest in his liver " ; and the Duke in " Twelfth Night," 
speaking of women's love, says : 

" Alas, their love may be call'd appetite, 
No motion of the liver, but the palate." 

The heart, on the other hand, was considered as the seat of 
wisdom. 

The spleen is now almost a synonym for bitterness of spirit, 
but it used to be regarded as the source of laughter. Isabella in 
<l Measure for Measure," after the well-known quotation about 
man dressed in a little brief authority who plays such apish tricks 
as make the angels weep, says they would laugh instead if they 
had spleens : 

" Who, with our spleens, 
Would all themselves laugh mortal." 

The brain in mediaeval times was regarded only as the home of 
the " wits of feeling " the senses. 

Some other points of interest in mediaeval medicine are the 
strange remedies prescribed, and the way in which they were hit 
upon. The Editor has not made many selections to illustrate 
this, nor has he sought out the most strange. And lastly, in this, 
as in most of the other chapters, much may be learnt of the 
customs of the time from the indications of the text. 

THESE be the signs of frenzy, woodness and con- 
tinual waking, moving and casting about the eyes, 
raging, stretching, and casting out of hands, moving 
and wagging of the head, grinding and gnashing 



66 MEDIEVAL LORE 

together of the teeth ; always they will arise out of 
their bed, now they sing, now they weep, and they 
bite gladly and rend their keeper and their leech : 
seldom be they still, but cry much. And these be 
most perilously sick, and yet they wot not then that 
they be sick. Then they must be soon holpen lest 
they perish, and that both in diet and in medicine. 
The diet shall be full scarce, as crumbs of bread, 
which must many times be wet in water. The 
medicine is, that in the beginning the patient's head 
be shaven, and washed in lukewarm vinegar, and 
that he be well kept or bound in a dark place. 
Diverse shapes of faces and semblance of painting 
shall not be shewed tofore him, lest he be tarred with 
woodness. All that be about him shall be com- 
manded to be still and in silence ; men shall not 
answer to his nice words. In the beginning ot 
medicine he shall be let blood in a vein of the fore- 
head, and bled as much as will fill an egg-shell. 
Afore all things (if virtue and age suffereth) he shall 
bleed in the head vein. Over all things, with oint- 
ments and balming men shall labour to bring him 
asleep. The head that is shaven shall be plastered 
with lungs of a swine, or of a wether, or of a sheep ; 
the temples and forehead shall be anointed with the 



MEDIEVAL MEDICINE 67 

juice of lettuce, or of poppy. If after these medicines 
are laid thus to, the woodness dureth three days with- 
out sleep, there is no hope of recovery. 

Madness is infection of the foremost cell of the 
head, with privation of imagination, like as melan- 
choly is the infection of the middle cell of the head, 
with privation of reason. 

Madness cometh sometime of passions of the 
soul, as of business and of great thoughts, of sorrow 
and of too great study, and of dread : sometime of the 
biting of a wood hound, or some other venomous beast : 
sometime of melancholy meats, and sometime of drink 
of strong wine. And as the causes be diverse, the 
tokens and signs be diverse. For some cry and leap 
and hurt and wound themselves and other men, and 
darken and hide themselves in privy and secret 
places. The medicine of them is, that they be 
bound, that they hurt not themselves and other men. 
And namely, such shall be refreshed, and comforted, 
and withdrawn from cause and matter of dread and 
busy thoughts. And they must be gladded with 
instruments of music, and somedeal be occupied. 

Our Lord set a token in Cain, that was quaking of 



68 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

head, as Strabus saith in the gloss : " Every man 
(saith Strabus) that findeth me, by quaking of head 
and moving of wood heart, shall know that I am 
guilty to die." 

Among all the passions and evils of the wits of 
feeling, blindness is most wretched. For without 
any bond, blindness is a prison to the blind. And 
blindness beguileth the virtue imaginative in know- 
ing ; for in deeming of white the blind deem it is 
black, and ayenward. It letteth the virtue of avise- 
mcnt in deeming. For he deemeth and aviseth, 
and casteth to go eastward, and is beguiled in his 
doom, and goeth westward. And blindness over- 
turneth the virtue of affection and desire. For if 
men proffer the blind a silver penny and a copper to 
choose the better, he desireth to choose the silver 
penny, but he chooseth the copper. 

The blind man's wretchedness is so much, that it 
maketh him not only subject to a child, or to a servant, 
for ruling and leading, but also to an hound. And 
the blind is oft brought to so great need, that to pass 
and scape the peril of a bridge or of a ford, he is 
compelled to trust in a hound more than to himself. 
Also oft in perils where all men doubt and dread, the 



MEDIEVAL MEDICINE 69 

blind man, for he seeth no peril, is secure. And in 
like wise there as is no peril, the blind dreadeth most. 
He spurneth oft in plain way, and stumble th oft ; 
there he should heave up his foot, he boweth it 
downward. And in like wise there as he should set 
his foot to the ground, he heaveth it upward. He 
putteth forth the hand all about groping and grasping, 
he seeketh all about his way with his hand and with 
his staff. Seldom he doth aught securely, well nigh 
always he doubteth and dreadeth. Also the blind 
man when he lieth or sitteth thereout, he weeneth 
that he is under covert ; and ofttimes he thinketh 
himself hid when everybody seeth him. 

Also sometimes the blind beateth and smiteth and 
grieveth the child that leadeth him, and shall soon 
repent the beating by doing of the child. For the 
child hath mind of the beating, and forsaketh him, 
and Icaveth him alone in the middle of a bridge, 
or in some other peril, and teacheth him not the 
way to void the peril. Therefore the blind is 
wretched, for in house he dare nothing trustly do, and 
in the way he dreadeth lest his fellow will forsake 
him. 

Universally this evil [leprosy] hath much tokens 
and signs. In them the flesh is notably corrupt, the 



70 MEDIEVAL LORE 

shape is changed, the eyen become round, the eye- 
lids are revelled, the sight sparkleth, the nostrils are 
straited and revelled and shrunk. The voice is hoarse, 
swelling groweth in the body, and many small botches 
and whelks hard and round, in the legs and in the 
utter parts ; feeling is somedeal taken away. The 
nails are boystous and bunchy, the fingers shrink and 
crook, the breath is corrupt, and oft whole men are 
infected with the stench thereof. The flesh and skin 
is fatty, insomuch that they may throw water thereon, 
and it is not the more wet, but the water slides off, 
as it were ofFa wet hide. Also in the body be diverse 
specks, now red, now black, now wan, now pale. 
The tokens of leprosy be most seen in the utter parts, 
as in the feet, legs, and face ; and namely in wasting 
and minishing of the brawns of the body. 

To heal or to hide leprosy, best is a red adder with 
a white womb, if the venom be away, and the tail and 
the head smitten off, and the body sod with leeks, if 
it be oft taken and eaten. And this medicine helpeth 
in many evils ; as appeareth by the blind man, to 
whom his wife gave an adder with garlick instead of 
an eel, that it might slay him, and he ate it, and 
after that by much sweat, he recovered his sight 
again. 



MEDIEVAL MEDICINE 71 

The biting of a wood hound is deadly and 
venomous. And such venom is perilous. For it is 
long hidden and unknown, and increaseth and multi- 
plieth itself, and is sometimes unknown to the year's 
end, and then the same day and hour of the biting, it 
cometh to the head, and breedeth frenzy. They that 
are bitten of a woodhoundhave in their sleep dreadful 
sights, and are fearful, astonied, and wroth without 
cause. And they dread to be seen of other men, and 
bark as hounds, and they dread water most of all 
things, and are afeared thereof full sore, and 
squeamous also. Against the biting of a wood hound 
wise men and ready used to make the wounds bleed 
with fire or with iron, that the venom may come out 
with blood, that cometh out of the wound. 

Then consider thou shortly hereof, that a physician 
visiteth oft the houses and countries of sick men. 
And seeketh and searcheth the causes and circum- 
stances of the sicknesses, and arrayeth and bringeth 
with him divers and contrary medicines. And he 
refuseth not to grope and handle, and to wipe and 
cleanse wounds of sick men. And he behooteth to 
all men hope and trust of recovering of health ; and 
saith that he will softly burn that which shall be 



72 MEDIEVAL LORE 

burnt, and cut that which shall be cut. And lest the 
whole part should corrupt, he spareth not to burn 
and to cut off the part that is rotted, and if a part in 
the right side acheth, he spareth not to smite in the 
left side. A good leech leaveth not cutting or burning 
for weeping of the patient. And he hideth and 
covereth the bitterness of the medicine with some 
manner of sweetness. He drinketh and tasteth of the 
medicine, though it be bitter : that it be not against 
the sick man's heart, and refraineth the sick man of 
meat and drink ; and letteth him have his own will, 
of the whose health is neither hope nor trust of 
recovering. 

The veins have that name for that they be the 
ways, conduits, and streams of the fleeting of the 
blood, and sheddeth it into all the body. And Con- 
stantine saith, that the veins spring out of the liver, 
as the arteries and wosen do out of the heart, and the 
sinews out of the brain. And veins are needful as 
vessels of the blood to bear and to bring blood from 
the liver, to feed and nourish the members of the 
body. Also needly, the veins are more tender and 
nesh in kind than sinews. Therefore that they be 
nigh to the liver may somewhat change the blood 



MEDIEVAL MEDICINE 73 

that cometh to them. And all the veins are made 
of one curtel, and not of two, as the arteries and 
wosen. For the arteries receive spirits, and they keep 
and save them. And the veins coming out of the 
liver, suck thereof, as it were of their own mother, 
feeding of blood, and dealeth and departeth that 
feeding to every member as it needeth. And so the 
veins spread into all the parts of the body, and by a 
wonder wit of kind, they do service each to other. 

Also among other veins open and privy, there is a 
vein, and it is called Artery, which is needful in kind 
to bear and bring kindly heat from the heart to all 
the other members. And these arteries are made 
and composed of two small clothings or skins, called 
curtels, and they be like in shape, and divers in 
substance. The inner have wrinkles and folding 
overthwart, and their substance is hard, and more 
boystous than the utter be. And without they have 
wrinkles and folding in length : of whom the sub- 
stance is hard for needfulness of moving, opening, 
and closing. For by opening, itself doth receive from 
the heart and that by the wrinklings and folding in 
length ; by closing, itself doth put out superfluous 
fumosity, which is done by wrinkling and folding the 
curtels overthwart and in breadth, in the which the 



74 MEDIEVAL LORE 

spirit is drawn from the heart. Wherefore they be 
harder without than all the other veins, and that is 
needful lest they break lightly and soon. Also these 
veins spring out of the left hollowness of the heart. 
And twain of that side are called Pulsative, of which 
one that is the innermost hath a nesh skin, and this 
vein is needful to bring great quantity of blood and 
spirits to the lungs, and to receive in air, and to 
medley it with blood, to temper the ferventness of 
the blood. This vein entereth into the lungs and is 
departed there in many manner wises. 

The other artery is more than the first, and 
Aristotle calleth it Horren ; this artery cometh up 
from the heart, and is departed in twain, and the one 
part cometh upward, and carrieth blood, that is 
purified and spirit of life to the brain ; that so the 
spirit of feeling may be bred, nourished, kept, and 
saved. The other part goeth downward, and is 
departed in many manner wise toward the right side 
and toward the left. 

Then mark well, that a vein is the bearer and 
carrier of blood, keeper and warden of the life of 
beasts. And containeth in itself the four bloody 
humours clean and pure, which are ordained for 
feeding of all the parts of the body. Moreover, a 



MEDIEVAL MEDICINE 75 

vein is hollow to receive blood the more easily, and 
as it needeth in kind, that one vein bring and give 
blood to another vein. Also a vein is messager of 
health and of sickness. For by the pulse of the 
arteries and disposition of the veins, physicians deemof 
the feebleness and strength of the heart. Also if a 
vein be corrupt, and containeth corrupt blood, it 
corrupteth and infecteth all the body, as it fareth in 
lepers, whose blood is most corrupt in the veins, of 
the which the members are fed by sucking of blood, 
and seeketh thereby corruption and sickness in- 
curable. Also the vein of the arm is oft grieved, 
constrained and wranged, opened and slit, and 
wounded, to relieve the sickness of all the body by 
hurting of that vein. 

The spittle of a man fasting hath a manner 
strength of privy infection. For it grieveth and 
hurteth the blood of a beast, if it come into a 
bleeding wound, and is medlied with the blood. 
And that, peradventure, is, as saith Avicenna, by 
reason of rawness. For raw humour medlied with 
blood that hath perfect digestion, is contrary thereto 
in its quality, and disturbeth the temperance thereof, 
as authors say. And therefore it is that holy men 



76 MEDIEVAL LORE 

tell that the spittle of a fasting man slayeth serpents 
and adders, and is venom to venomous beasts, as 
saitli Basil. 

A discording voice and an inordinate troubleth 
the accord of many voices. But according voices 
sweet and ordinate, gladden and move to love, and 
show out the passions of the soul, and witness the 
strength and virtue of the spiritual members, and show 
pureness and good disposition of them, and relieve 
travail, and put off disease and sorrow. And make 
to be known the male and the female, and get and 
win praising, and change the affection of the hearers ; 
as it is said in fables of one Orpheus, that pleased 
trees, woods, hills, and stones, with sweet melody of 
his voice. Also a fair voice is according and friendly 
to kind. And pleaseth not only men but also brute 
beasts, as it fareth in oxen that are excited to travail 
more by sweet song of the herd, than by strokes and 
pricks. 

Also by sweet songs of harmony and accord or 
music, sick men and frantic come oft to their wit 
again and health of body. Some men tell that 
Orpheus said, " Emperors pray me to feasts, to have 
liking of me ; but I have liking of them which 



MEDIEVAL MEDICINE 77 

would bend their hearts from wrath to mildness, 
from sorrow to gladness, from covetousness to large- 
ness, from dread to boldness." This is the ordinance 
of music,that is known above the sweetness of the 
soul. 

Now it is known by these foresaid things, how 
profitable is a merry voice and sweet. And contrari- 
wise is of an unordinate voice and horrible, that 
gladdeth not, nother comforteth ; but is noyful and 
discomforteth and grieveth the ears and the wit. 
Therefore Constantine saith that a philosopher was 
questioned, why an horrible man is more heavy than 
any burden or wit. And men say that he answered 
in this manner. An horrible man is burden to the 
soul and wit. 

The lungs be the bellows of the heart. It 
beateth in opening of itself that it may take in 
breath, and thrusting together may put it out, and so 
it is in continual moving, in drawing in and out of 
breath. The lungs be the proper instrument of the 
heart, for it keleth the heart, and by subtlety of its 
substance, changeth the air that is drawn in, and 
maketh it more subtle. The lungs shapeth the voice, 
and ceaseth never of moving. For it closeth itself 
and spreadeth, and keepeth the air to help the heat 



78 MEDIEVAL LORE 

in its dens and holes. And therefore a beast may 
not live under the water without stifling, but as long 
as he may hold in the air that is gathered within. 
The lungs by continual moving putteth *ff air that 
is gathered within, cleanseth and purgeth it, and 
ministereth continual and convenable feeding to the 
vital spirit. And departeth the heart from the 
instruments of feeling, and breedeth foamy humours, 
and beclippeth aside half the substance of the heart. 
And when the lungs be grieved by any occasion, it 
speedeth to death-ward. 

The liver hath name, for fire hath place therein, 
that passeth up anon to the brain, and cometh thence 
to the eyen, and to the other wits and limbs. And 
the liver by its heat, draweth woose and juice and 
turneth it into blood, and serveth the body and 
members therewith, to the use of feeding. In the 
liver is the place of voluptuousness and liking of the 
flesh. The ends of the liver hight fibra, for they are 
straight and passing as tongs, and beclip the stomach, 
and give heat to digestion of meat : and they hight 
fibra, because the .necromancers brought them to the 
altars of their god Phoebus and offered them there, 
and then they had answers. 



MEDIEVAL MEDICINE 79 

The liver is the chief fundament of kindly virtue, 
and greatest helper of the first digestion in the 
stomach, and the liver maketh perfectly the second 
digestion in the stomach, in the hollowness of its own 
substance, and departeth clean and pured, from un- 
clean and unpured, and sendeth feeding to all the 
members, and exciteth love or bodily lust, and 
receiveth divers passions. Then the liver is a noble 
and precious member, by whose alteration the body 
is altered, and the liver sendeth feeding and virtues of 
feeding to the other members, to the nether without 
mean, and to the other, by mean of the heart. 

Some men ween, that the milt is cause of laughing. 
For by the spleen we are moved to laugh, by the gall 
we are wroth, by the heart we are wise, by the brain 
we feel, by the liver we love. 



IV 



MEDIAEVAL GEOGRAPHY 

THE fourteenth and fifteenth books of the " De Proprietati- 
bus " are treatises on the geography of the time. Very 
few words of the editor's are needed to introduce them 
to modern readers. They may be divided into two classes : one, 
interesting because of the legends they preserve for us, the other, 
as reflecting the social life of the time. The first class is repre- 
sented here by the accounts of the Amazons, of India, of Ireland, 
and of Finland. Here we have the outlines of the stories 

" Of antres vast, and deserts idle, 

Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven, 
And of the Cannibals that each other eat, 
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads 
Do grow beneath their shoulders " 

told by Othello to Desdemona. 

In the other we class such accounts as those of France and of 
Paris, of the Frisians, Flanders, Scotland, and Iceland. Such 
countries as these were well known in the thirteenth century, and 
the feelings of our author about them can be gathered easily enough. 
The tone of the chapters about England and Scotland would be 
80 



MEDIEVAL GEOGRAPHY 81 

enough alone to prove that Bartholomew was an Englishman, it 
there were no other reason to think it. 



THERE is a lake that hight lake Asphaltus, and is 
also called the Dead Sea for its greatness and deep- 
ness : for it breedeth, ne receiveth, no thing that 
hath life. Therefore it hath nother fish ne fowls, 
but whensoever thou wouldst have drowned therein 
anything that hath life with any craft or gin, then 
anon it plungeth and cometh again up ; though it 
be strongly thrust downward, it is anon smitten 
upward. And it moveth not with the wind, for 
glue withstandeth wind and storms, by which glue 
all [the] water is stint. And therein may no ship 
row nor sail, for all thing that hath no life sinketh 
down to the ground ; nor he sustaineth no kind, but 
it be glued. And a lantern without its light sinketh 
therein, as it telleth, and a lantern with light 
floateth above. 

As the Master of Histories saith, this lake casteth 
up black clots of glue. In the brim thereof trees 
grow, the apples whereof are green till they are 
ripe : and if ye cut them when they are ripe, yc 
shall find ashes within them. And so it is said in 
the gloss j and there grow most fair apples, that 

G 



82 

make men that see them have liking to eat of them, 
and if one take them, they fade and fall in ashes 
and smoke, as though they were burning. 

Olympus is a mount of Macedon, and is full high, 
so that it is said, that the clouds are thereunder, as 
Virgil saith. This mount departeth Macedonia and 
Thracia, and is so high, that it passeth all storms 
and other passions of the air. And therefore philo- 
sophers went up to see the course and places of stars, 
and they might not live there, but if they had 
sponges with water to make the air more thick by 
throwing and sprinkling of water : as the Master of 
Histories saith. 

Amazonia, women's land, is a country part in 
Asia and part in Europe, and is nigh to Albania, and 
hath that name of Amazonia, of women that were 
the wives of th'e men that were called Goths, the 
which men went out of the nether Scythia, and 
were cruelly slain, and then their wives took their 
husbands' armour and weapons, and resed on the 
enemies with manly hearts, and took wreck of the 
death of their husbands. For with dint of sword 
they slew all the young males, and old men, and 



MEDIEVAL GEOGRAPHY 83 

children, and saved the females, and departed prey, 
and purposed to live ever after without company .of 
males. And by ensample of their husbands that 
had alway two kings over them, these women 
ordained them two queens, that one hight Marscpia, 
and that other Lampeta, that one should travail with 
a host, and fight against enemies, and that other 
should in the mean time, govern and rule the com- 
munities. And they were made so fierce warriors 
in short time, that they had a great part of Asia 
under their lordship nigh a hundred years : among 
them they suffered no male to live nor abide, in no 
manner of wise. But of nations that were nigh to 
them, they chose husbands because of children, and 
went to them in times that were ordained, and when 
the time was done, then they would compel their 
lovers to go from them, and get other places to abide 
in, and would slay their sons, or send them to their 
fathers in certain times. And they saved their 
daughters, and taught them to shoot and to hunt. 
And for the shooting of arrows should not be let 
with great breasts, in the jth year (as it is said), 
they burnt off their breasts, and therefore they were 
called Amazons. And as it is said, Hercules a- 
daunted first the fierceness of them, and then 



84 MEDIEVAL LORE 

Achilles. But that was more by friendship than by 
strength, as it is contained in deeds and doings of 
the Greeks, and the Amazons were destroyed and 
brought to death by great Alexander. But the story 
of Alexander saith not so. But it is said that 
Alexander demanded tribute of the Queen of the 
Amazons, and she wrote to him again by messengers 
in this manner. 

" Of thy wit I wonder, that thou purposest to 
fight with women, for if fortune be on our side, and 
if it hap that thou be overcome, then art thou shamed 
for evermore, when thou art overcome of women, and 
if our gods be wroth with us, and thou overcomest 
us, it shall turn thee to little worship, that thou have 
the mastery of women." 

The noble king wondered on her answer, and said, 
that it is not seemly to overcome women with sword 
and with woodness, but rather with fairness and with 
love : and therefore he granted them freedom and 
made them subject to his empire, not with violence 
but with friendship and with love. 

England is the most island of Ocean, and is 
beclipped all about by the sea, and departed from the 
roundness of the world, and hight sometimes Albion : 



MEDIEVAL GEOGRAPHY 85 

and had that name of white rocks, which were seen 
on the sea cliffs. And by continuance of time, lords 
and noble men of Troy, after that Troy was destroyed, 
went from thence, and were accompanied with a 
great navy, and fortuned to the cliffs of the foresaid 
island, and that by revelation of their feigned goddess 
Pallas, as it is said, and the Trojans fought with 
giants long time that dwelled therein, and overcame 
the giants, both with craft and with strength, and 
conquered the island, and called the land Britain, by 
the name of Brute that was prince of that host : and 
so the island hight Britain, as it were an island 
conquered of Brute that time, with arms and with 
might. Of this Brute's offspring came most mighty 
kings. And who that hath liking to know their 
deeds, let him read the story of Brute. 

And long time after, the Saxons won the island 
with many and divers hard battles and strong, and 
their offspring had possession after them of the island, 
and the Britons were slain or exiled, and the Saxons 
departed the island among them, and gave every 
province a name, by the property of its own name and 
nation, and therefore they cleped the island Anglia, by 
the name of Engelia the queen, the worthiest duke of 
Saxony's daughter, that had the island in possession 



86 MEDIEVAL LORE 

after many battles. Isidore saith, that this land hight 
Anglia, and hath that name of Angulus, a corner, as it 
were land set in the end, or a corner of the world. 
But saint Gregory, seeing English children to sell at 
Rome, when they were not christened, and hearing 
that they were called English : according with the 
name of the country, he answered and said : Truly 
they be English, for they shine in face right as angels : 
it is need to send them message, with word of 
salvation. For as Beda saith, the noble kind of the 
land shone in their faces. Isidore saith, Britain, 
that now hight Anglia, is an island set afore France 
and Spain, and containeth about 48 times 75 miles. 
Also therein be many rivers and great and hot 
wells. There is great plenty of metals, there be 
enough of the stones Agates, and of pearls, the ground 
is special good, most apt to bear corn and other good 
fruit. There be, namely, many sheep with good 
wool, there be many harts and other wild beasts ; 
there be few wolves or none, therefore there be 
many sheep, and may be securely left without ward, 
in pasture and in fields, as Beda saith. 

England is a strong land and a sturdy, and the 
plenteousest corner of the world, so rich a land that 
unneth it needeth help of any land, and every other 



MEDIAEVAL GEOGRAPHY 87 

land needeth help of England. England is full of 
mirth and of game, and men oft times able to mirth 
and game, free men of heart and with tongue, but 
the hand is more better and more free than the 
tongue. 

Cedar is the name of the country in which dwelled 
the Ishmaelites, that were the children of Kedar, 
that was Ishmael's eldest son. And more truly they 
be there clept Agareni than Saraceni, though they 
mistake the name of Sarah in vain, and be proud 
thereof, as though they were gendered of Sarah. 
These men build no houses, but go about in large 
wildernesses, as wild men, and dwell in tents, and 
live by prey and by venison. Yet hereafter, as 
Methodius saith, they shall once be gathered together, 
and go out of the desert, and win and hold the 
roundness of the earth, eight weeks of years, and 
their way shall be called the way of anguish and of 
woe. For they shall overcome cities and kingdoms. 
And they shall slay priests in holy places, and lie 
there with women, and drink of holy vessels, and tie 
beasts to sepultures of holy saints, for the wickedness 
of the Christian men that shall be in that time. 
These and many other things he doth rehearse that 



88 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

Ishmaelites, men of Kedar, shall do in the world 
wide. 

Ethiopia, blue men's land, had first that name of 
colour of men. For the sun is nigh, and roasteth and 
toasteth them. And so the colour of men showeth 
the strength of the star, for there is continual heat. 
For all that is under the south pole about the west is 
full of mountains, and about the middle full of 
gravel, and in the east side most desert and wilderness : 
and stretcheth from the west of Atlas toward the east 
unto the ends of Egypt, and is closed in the south 
with ocean, and in the north with the river Nile. 
In this land be many nations with divers faces 
wonderly and horribly shapen : Also therein be many 
wild beasts and serpents, and also Rhinoceros, and the 
beast that hight Cameleon, a beast with many colours. 
Also there be cockatrices and great dragons, and 
precious stones be taken out of their brains, Jacinth, 
and Chrysophrase, Topaz, and many other precious 
stones be found in those parts, and cinnamon is there 
gathered. There be two Ethiopias, one is in the east, 
and the other is in Mauritania in the west, and that 
is more near Spain. And then is Numidia, and the 
province of Carthage. Then is Getula, and at last 



MEDIEVAL GEOGRAPHY 89 

against the course of the sun in the south is the land 
that hight Ethiopia adusta, burnt ; and fables tell, 
that there beyond be the Antipodes, men that have 
their feet against our feet. The men of Ethiopia 
have their name of a black river, and that river is of 
the same kind as Nilus, for they breed reeds and bull- 
rushes, and rise and wax in one time. In the wilder- 
ness there be many men wonderly shapen. Some oft 
curse the sun bitterly in his rising and downgoing, 
and they behold the sun and curse him always : for 
his heat grieveth them full sore. And other as 
Trogodites dig them dens and caves, and dwell in 
them instead of houses ; and they eat serpents, and 
all that may be got ; their noise is more fearful in 
sounding than the voice of other. Others there be 
which like beasts live without wedding, and dwell 
with women without law, and such be called 
Garamantes. Others go naked, and be not occupied 
with travail, and they be called Graphasantes. There 
be other that be called Bennii, and it is said, they 
have no heads, but they have eyes fixed in their 
breasts. And there be Satyrs, and they have only 
shape of men, and have no manners of mankind. 
Also in Ethiopia be many other wonders, there be 
Ethiops, saith Plinius, among whom all four-footed 



90 MEDIEVAL LORE 

beasts be brought forth without ears, and also 
elephants. Also there be some that have a hound 
for their king, and divine by his moving, and do as 
they will. And other have three or four eyes in 
their foreheads, as it is said, not that it is so in kind, 
but that it is feigned, for they use principally looking 
and sight of arrows. Also some of them hunt lions 
and panthers, and live by their flesh, and their king 
hath only one eye in his forehead. Other men of 
Ethiopia live only by honeysuckles dried in smoke, 
and in the sun, and these live not past forty 
years. 

In the over Egypt be many divers deserts, in 
whom are many monstrous and wonderful beasts. 
There be Pards, Tigers, Satyrs, Cockatrices, and 
horrible adders and serpents. For in the ends of 
Egypt and of Ethiopia fast by the well where men 
suppose is the head of Nilus that runneth by Egypt, 
be bred wild beasts, that hight Cacothephas, the 
which beast is little of body, and uncrafty of members 
and slow, and hath a full heavy head. And there- 
fore they bear it always downward toward the earth, 
and that by ordinance of kind for the salvation of 
mankind, for it is so wicked and so venomous, that 



MEDIEVAL GEOGRAPHY 91 

no man may behold it right in the face, but he die 
anon without remedy. 

Fraunce hight Francia and Gallia also, and had first 
that name Francia of men of Germany, who were 
called Franci : and hath the Rhine and Germayn in 
the east side, and in the north-east side the mountains 
Alpes Pennini : and in the south the province of 
Narbonne, in the north-west the British ocean, and 
in the north the island of Britain. . . . This land of 
France is a rank country, and plentiful of trees, of 
vines, of corn, and of fruits, and is noble by the 
affluence of rivers and fountains ; through the borders 
of which land run two most noble rivers, that is to 
wit, Rhone and Rhine. Therein be noble quarries 
and stones both to build and to rear buildings and 
houses upon, and therein be special manner stones, 
and namely in the ground about Paris, that is most 
passing, namely in a manner stone that is hight 
Gypsum, that men of that country call Plaster in their 
language, for the ground is glassy and bright, and by 
mineral virtue turneth into stone ; this manner stone 
burnt and tempered with water, turneth into cement, 
and so thereof is made edifices and vaults, walls and 
diverse pavements. And such cement laid in works 



92 MEDIEVAL LORE 

waxeth hard anon again as it were stone ; and in 
France be many noble and famous cities, but among 
all Paris beareth the prize ; for as sometime the city 
of Athens, mother of liberal arts and of letters, nurse 
of philosophers, and well of all sciences, made it 
solemn in science and in conditions among Greeks, 
so doth Paris in this time, not only France, but also 
all the other deal of Europe. For as mother of 
wisdom she receiveth all that cometh out of every 
country of the world, and helpeth them in all that 
they need, and ruleth all peaceably, and as a servant 
of soothness, she sheweth herself detty to wise men 
and unwise. This city is full good and mighty of 
riches, it rejoiceth in peace : there is good air ot 
rivers according to philosophers, there be fair fields, 
meads, and mountains to refresh and comfort the eyen 
of them that be weary in study, there be convenable 
streets and houses, namely for studiers. And never- 
theless the city is sufficient to receive and to feed all 
others that come thereto, and passeth all other cities 
in these things, and in such other like. 

Though this province be little in space, yet it is 
wealthful of many special things and good. For this 
land is plenteous and full of pasture, of cattle, and of 



93 

beasts, royal and rich of the best towns, havens of the 
sea, and of famous rivers, and well nigh all about is 
moisted with Scaldelia. The men thereof be seemly 
and fair of body and strong, and they get many 
children. And they be rich of all manner mer- 
chandises and chaffer, and generally fair and seemly 
of face, mild of will, and fair of speech, sad of 
bearing, honest of clothing, peaceable to their own 
neighbours, true and trusty to strangers, passing witty 
in wool craft, by their crafty working a great part of 
the world is succoured and holpen in woollen clothes. 
For of the principal wool which they have out of 
England, with their subtle craft be made many noble 
cloths, and be sent by sea and also by land into many 
diverse countries. 

The men of Germany call men of this land 
Prisons, and between them and the Germans is great 
difference in clothing and in manner. For wellnigh 
all men be shorn round ; and the more noble they be, 
the more worship they account to be shorn the more 
high. And the men be high of body, strong of virtue, 
stern and fierce of heart, and swift and quiver of body. 
And they use iron spears instead of arrows. . . . 
The men be free, and not subject to lordship of 



94 MEDIEVAL LORE 

other nations, and put them in peril of death by cause 
of freedom. And they had liefer die than be under 
the yoke of thraldom. Therefore they forsake dignity 
of knighthood, and suffer none to rise and to be 
greater among them under the title of knighthood ; 
but they be subject to Judges that they chose of them- 
selves from year to year, which rule the community 
among them. They love well chastity, and punish 
all the unchaste right grievously : And they keep 
their children chaste unto the time that they be of full 
age, and so when they be wedded, they get manly 
children and strong. 

And, as it is said, some of the Indians till the earth, 
and some use chivalry, and some use merchandise and 
lead out chaffer ; some rule and govern the com- 
munity at best ; and some be about the kings, and 
some be Justices and doomsmen, some give them 
principally to religions and to learning of wit and of 
wisdom. And as among all countries and lands India 
is the greatest and most rich : so among all lands 
India is most wonderful. For as Pliny saith, India 
aboundeth in wonders. In India be many huge 
beasts bred, and more greater hounds than in other 
lands. Also there be so high trees that men may not 



MEDIEVAL GEOGRAPHY 95 

shoot to the top with an arrow, as it is said. And 
that maketh the plenty and fatness of the earth and 
temperateness of weather, of air, and of water. Fig 
trees spread there so broad, that many great com- 
panies of knights may sit at meat under the shadow 
of one tree. Also there be so great reeds and so long 
that every piece between two knots beareth some- 
time three men over the water. Also there be men 
of great stature, passing five cubits in height, and they 
never spit, nor have never headache nor toothache, 
nor sore eyes, nor they be not grieved with passing 
heat of the sun, but rather made more hard and sad 
therewith. Also their philosophers that they call 
Gymnosophists stand in most hot gravel from the 
morning till evening, and behold the sun without 
blemishing of their eyes. Also there, in some moun- 
tains be men with soles of the feet turned backwards, 
and the foot also with viij toes on one foot. Also 
there be some with hounds' heads, and be clothed in 
skins of wild beasts, and they bark as hounds, and 
speak none other wise : and they live by hunting and 
fowling : and they be armed with their nails and 
teeth, and be full many, about six score thousand as 
he saith. Also among some nations of India be 
women that bear never child but once, and the 



96 MEDIEVAL LORE 

children wax whitehaired anon as they be born. 
There be satyrs and other men wondrously shapen. 
Also in the end of East India, about the rising of 
Ganges, be men without mouths, and they be clothed 
in moss and in rough hairy things, which they gather 
off trees, and live commonly by odour and smell at 
the nostrils. And they nother eat nother drink, but 
only smell odour of flowers and of wood apples, and 
live so, and they die anon in evil odour and smell. 
And other there be that live full long, and age never, 
but die as it were in middle age. Also some be hoar 
in youth, and black in age. Pliny rehearseth these 
wonders, and many other mo. 

Yrlonde hight Hibernia, and is an island of the 
Ocean in Europe, and is nigh to the land of Britain, 
and is more narrow and straight than Britain, but it 
is more plenteous place. ... In this land is much 
plenty of corn fields, of wells and of rivers, of fair 
meads and woods, of metal and of precious stones. 
For there is gendered a six cornered stone, that is to 
wit, Iris, that maketh a rainbow in the air, if it be set 
in the sun. And there is jet found, and white pearls. 
And concerning the wholesome air, Ireland is a good 
temperate country. There is little or none passing 



MEDIEVAL GEOGRAPHY 97 

heat or cold ; there be wonderful lakes, ponds, and 
wells. For there is a lake, in which if a staff or a 
pole of tree be pight, and tarrieth long time therein, 
the part that is in the earth turneth into iron, and 
the part that is in the water turneth into stone, 
and the part that is above the water, abideth still in 
its kind of tree. There is another lake in which ir 
that thou throwest rods of hazel, it turneth those rods 
into ash : and ayenward if ye cast ashen rods therein, 
they turn into hazel. Therein be places in which 
dead carrions never rot : but abide there always un- 
corrupt. Also in Ireland is a little island, in which 
men die not, but when they be overcome with age, 
they be borne out of that island to die without. In 
Ireland is no serpent, no frogs, nor venomous adder- 
cop ; but all the land is so contrary to venemous 
beasts that if the earth of that land be brought into 
another land, and spronge on the ground, it slayeth 
serpents and toads. Also venomous beasts flee Irish 
wool, skins, and fells. And if serpents or toads be 
brought into Ireland by shipping, they die anon. 

Solinus speaketh of Ireland, and saith the inhabit- 
ants thereof be fierce, and lead an unhuman life. 
The people there use to harbour no guests, they be 
warriors, and drink men's blood that they slay, and 

H 



98 MEDIEVAL LORE 

wash first their faces therewith : right and unright 
they take for one. . . . Men of Ireland be singularly 
clothed and unseemly arrayed and scarcely fed, they 
be cruel of heart, fierce of cheer, angry of speech, and 
sharp. Nathless they be free hearted, and fair of 
speech and goodly to their own nation, and namely 
those men that dwell in woods, marshes, and moun- 
tains. These men be pleased with flesh, apples, and 
fruit for meat, and with milk for drink : and give them 
more to plays and to hunting, than to work and travail. 

The land Scotia hath the name of Scots that dwell 
therein, and the same nation that was sometime first 
in Ireland, and all according thereto in tongue, in 
manners, and in kind. The men are light of heart, 
fierce, and courageous on their enemies. They love 
nigh as well death as thraldom, and they account it 
for sloth to die in bed, and a great worship and virtue 
to die in a field fighting against enemies. The men be 
of scarce living, and many suffer hunger long time, and 
eat selde tofore the sun going down, and use flesh, milk, 
meats, fish, and fruits more than Britons : and use to 
eat the less bread, and though the men be seemly 
enough of figure and of shape, and fair efface generally 
by kind, yet their own Scottish clothing disfigures them 



MEDIEVAL GEOGRAPHY 99 

full much. And Scots be said in their own tongue 
of bodies painted, as it were cut and slit. For in old 
time they were marked with divers figures and shapes 
on their flesh and skin, made with iron pricks. And 
by cause of medlying with Englishmen, many of them 
have changed the old manners of Scots into better 
manners for the more part, but the wild Scots and 
Irish account great worship to follow their fore- 
fathers in clothing, in tongue, and in living, and in 
other manner doing. And despise somedeal the 
usages of other men in comparison to their own 
usage. And so each laboureth to be above, they de- 
tract and blame all other, and envy all other : they 
deride all other, and blame all other men's manners ; 
they be not ashamed to lie, and they repute no man, 
of what nation, blood, or puissance so-ever he be, to 
be hardy and valiant, but themselves. They delight 
in their own ; they love not peace. In that land is 
plenteous ground, merry woods, moist rivers and 
wells, many flocks of beasts. There be earth-tillers 
for quantity of the place enow. 

Thanet is a little island of ocean, and is departed 
from Britain with a little arm of the sea, and hath 
wheat fields and noble grounds, and hath its name of 



ioo MEDIEVAL LORE 

death of serpents. For the earth of that land carried 
into any country of the world, slayeth serpents forth- 
with, as Isidore saith. 

Finland is a country beside the mountains of 
Norway toward the east, and stretcheth upon the 
cliff of ocean : and is not full plenteous, but in 
wood, herbs, and grass. The men of that country 
be strange and somewhat wild and fierce : and they 
occupy themselves with witchcraft. And so to men 
that sail by their coasts, and also to men that abide 
with them for default of wind, they proffer wind to 
sailing, and so they sell wind. They use to make a 
clue of thread, and they make divers knots to be 
knit therein. And then they command to draw out 
of the clue unto three knots, or mo or less, as they 
will have the wind more soft or strong. And for 
their misbelief fiends move the air, and arise strong 
tempests or soft, as he draweth of the clue more or 
less knots. And sometimes they move the wind so 
strongly, that the wretches that believe in such doings, 
are drowned by rightful doom of God. 

Iceland is the last region in Europe in the north 
beyond Norway. In the uttermost parts thereof it is 
always ice and frozen, and stretcheth upon the cliff 



MEDLEVAL GEOGRAPHY 101 

of ocean toward the north, where the sea is frozen for 
great and strong cold. And Iceland hath the over 
Scythia in the east side, and Norway in the south, 
and the Irish ocean in the west, and the sea that is 
far in the north, and is called Iceland, as it were the 
land of ice and of glass. For it is said that there be 
mountains of snow froze as hard as ice or glass ; there 
crystal is found. Also in that tegion are white bears 
most great and right fierce ; that break ice and glass 
with their claws, and make many holes therein, and 
dive there-through into the sea, and take fish under 
the ice and glass, and draw them out through the 
same holes, and bring them to the cliff and live 
thereby. The land is barren, out-take a few places 
in the valleys, in the which places unneth grow oats. 
In the places that men dwell in, cnly grow herbs, 
grass, and trees. And in those places breed beasts, 
tame and wild. And so for the more part men of 
the land live by fish and by hunting of flesh. Sheep 
may not live there for cold. And therefore men of 
the land wear, for cold, fells and skins of bears and 
of wild beasts that they take with hunting. Other 
clothing may they not have, but it come of other 
lands. The men are full gross of body and strong 
and full white, and give them to fishing and hunting. 



MEDIAEVAL NAtURAL HISTORY TREES 

THE seventeenth book of the " De Proprietatibus " deals 
with the properties of plants. The sources from which 
Bartholomew derives his information are Aristotle and 
Albertus Magnus' Gloss on the " De Vegetalibus," Albumazar, 
Pliny, Isaac on Foods, Hugo, and the Platearius. The text pro- 
fesses to deal with those trees and plants alone which are 
mentioned in the Gloss, but many others are incidentally men- 
tioned, and we are thus enabled to learn the chief food-stuffs of 
our ancestors. The cereals of the time are wheat, barley, oats, and 
rye, just as at present ; but the dinner-table of the day had neither 
turnip, cabbage, nor potato, and supplied their place with the 
parsnip, cole, and rape. Garlic, radishes, and lettuce were widely 
used, the former being valued in proportion to its power of over- 
coming any other odour. Flax seems to have been widely grown, 
and rushlights were then a luxury. 

The subject of trees and plants does not so readily lend itself to 
fables as some other parts of natural history, but we refer the 
reader to the accounts of aloes, pepper, and mandragora as a 
specimen of the tales told, as our author says, " to make things 
dear, and of great price." 



NATURAL HISTORY TREES 103 

ALOES is a tree with good savour, and breedeth in 
India, and sometime apart thereof is set afire upon the 
altar in the stead of incense. It is found in the great 
river of Babylon, that joineth with a river of Paradise. 
Therefore many men trow that the aforesaid tree 
groweth among the trees of Paradise, and cometh out 
of Paradise by some hap or drift into [the] river of 
Ind. Men that dwell by that river take this tree 
out of the water by nets, and keep it to the use of 
medicine, for it is a good medicinal tree. 

Of Cannel and of Cassia men told fables in old 
time, that it is found in birds' nests, and specially in 
the Phoenix' nest. And may not be found, but what 
falleth by its own weight, or is smitten down with 
lead arrows. But these men do feign, to make things 
dear and of great price ; but as the sooth meaneth, 
cannel groweth among the Trogodites in the little 
Ethiopia, and cometh by long space of the sea in ships 
to the haven of Gelenites. No man hath leave to 
gather thereof tofore the sun-rising, nor after the sun 
going down. And when it is gathered, the priest by 
measure dealeth the branches and taketh thereof 
a part ; and so by space of time, merchants buy that 
other deal. 



104 MEDIEVAL LORE 

Of this tree [Bays] speaketh the Master in History, 
and saith that Rebecca (Gen. xvij.) for trembling of 
nations she had seen in them that perished, laid a 
manner laurel tree that she called Tripodem under 
her head, and sat her upon boughs of an herb that 
hight Agnus Castus, for to use very revelations and 
sights and not fantasies. 

The Emperor Tiberius Caesar in thundering and 
lightning used a garland of Laurel Tree on his head 
against dread of lightning, as it is said. Also Plinius 
telleth a wonder thing, that the emperor sat by 
Drusilla the empress in a certain garden, and an 
eagle threw from a right high place a wonder white 
hen into the empress' lap whole and sound, and the 
hen held in her bill a bough of laurel tree full of bays, 
and Diviners took heed to the hen, and sowed the 
bays, and kept them wisely, and of them came a 
wood, that was called Silva Triumphans, as it were 
the wood of worship for victory and mastery. 

The green leaves thereof, that smell full well if 
they be stamped, heal stinging of bees and of wasps, 
and do away all swellings, and keep books and 
clothes there it is among from moths and other 
worms, and save them fro fretting and gnawing. 
The fruit of laurel trees are called bays, and 



NATURAL HISTORY TREES 105 

are brown or red without, and white within and 
unctuous. 

It is said that a hind taught first the virtue of 
diptannus, for she eateth this herb that she may 
calve easilier and sooner ; and if she be hurt with an 
arrow, she seeketh this herb and eateth it, which 
putteth the iron out of the wound. 

And ash hath so great virtue that serpents come 
not in shadow thereof in the morning nor at even. 
And if a serpent be set within a fire and ash leaves, 
he will flee into the fire sooner than into the leaves. 

Beans be damned by Pythagoras' sentence, for it 
is said, that by oft use thereof the wits are dulled 
and cause many dreams. Or else as other men mean, 
for dead men's souls be therein. Therefore Varro 
saith that the bishop should not eat beans. And 
many medley beans with bread corn, to make the 
bread more heavy. 

The stalk [of wheat] is called Stipula as ustipula, 
and hath that name of usta, burnt. For when it is 
gathered some of the straw is burnt to help and 



io6 MEDIEVAL LORE 

amend the land. And some is kept to fodder of beasts, 
and is called Palea : for it is first meat that is laid 
tofore beasts, namely in some countries as in Tuscany. 
As Pliny saith, if the seed be touched with tallow or 
grease it is spoilt and lost. Among the best wheat 
sometimes grow ill weeds and venomous, as cockle 
and other such, also there it is said, of corrupt dew that 
cleaveth to the leaves cometh corruption in corn, and 
maketh it as it were red or rusty. Among all manner 
corn, wheat beareth the prize, and to mankind nothing 
is more friendly, nothing more nourishing. 

Flax groweth in even stalks, and bears yellow 
flowers or blue, and after cometh hops, and therein is 
the seed, and when the hop beginneth to wax, then 
the flax is drawn up and gathered all whole, and is 
then lined, and afterward made to knots and little 
bundles, and so laid in water, and lieth there long 
time. And then it is taken out of the water, and 
laid abroad till it be dried, and twined and wend in 
the sun, and then bound in pretty niches and bundles. 
And afterward knocked, beaten, and brayed, and 
carfled, rodded and gnodded, ribbed and heckled, and at 
the last spun. Then the thread is sod and bleached, 
and bucked, and oft laid to drying, wetted and 



NATURAL HISTORY TREES 107 

washed, and sprinkled with water until that it be 
white, after divers working and travail. 

Flax is needful to divers uses. For thereof is 
made clothing to wear, and sails to sail, and nets to 
fish and to hunt, and thread to sew, ropes to bind, 
and strings to shoot, bonds to bind, lines to mete and 
to measure, and sheets to rest in, and sacks, bags, and 
purses, to put and to keep things in. And so none 
herb is so needful, to so many divers uses to mankind, 
as is the flax. 

Ryndes thereof [i.e. of Mandragora] sodden in wine 
cause sleep, and abate all manner of soreness, and so 
that time a man feeleth unneth though he be cut, but 
yet Mandragora must be warily used : for it slayeth if 
men take much thereof. . . . They that dig Mandra- 
gora be busy to beware of contrary winds while they 
dig, and make three circles about with a sword, and 
abide with the digging unto the sun going down, 
and trow so to have the herb with the chief virtues. 

Papyrus is a manner rush, that is dried to kindle 
fire and lanterns, and hight the feeding of fire. And 
this herb is put to burn in prickets and in tapers. 
The rind is stripped off unto the pith, and is so 



io8 MEDIEVAL LORE 

dried, and a little is left of the rind on the one side, 
to sustain the tender pith ; and the less is left of the 
rind, the more clear the pith burneth in a lamp, 
and is the sooner kindled. And about Memphis 
and in Ind be such great rushes, that they make 
boats thereof, as the Gloss saith. And Alexander's 
Story saith the same. 

And of rushes are charters made, in the which 
were epistles written, and sent by messengers. Also 
of rushes be made paniers, boxes, and cases, and 
baskets to keep letters and other things in. And 
also they make thereof paper to write with. 

Pepper is the seed or the fruit of a tree that 
groweth in the south side of the hill Caucasus, in 
the strong heat of the sun. And serpents keep the 
woods that pepper groweth in. And when the 
woods of pepper are ripe, men of that country set 
them on fire, and chase away the serpents by 
violence of fire. And by such burning the grain of 
pepper that was white by kind, is made black and 
rively. 

Woods be wild places, waste and desolate, that 
many trees grow in without fruit, and also few 



NATURAL HISTORY TREES 109 

having fruit. In these woods be oft wild beasts and 
fowls, therein grow herbs, grass leas, and pasture, and 
namely medicinal herbs in woods be found. In 
summer woods are beautied with boughs and 
branches, with herbs and grass. In woods is place 
of deceit and hunting. For therein wild beasts are 
hunted, and watches and deceits are ordained and 
set of hounds and of hunters. There is place of 
hiding and of lurking, for oft in woods thieves are hid, 
and oft in their awaits and deceits passing men come, 
and are spoiled and robbed, and oft slain. And so 
for many and divers ways and uncertain, strange 
men oft err and go out of the way, and take un- 
certain ways, and the way that is unknown tofore 
the way that is known, and come oft to the place 
there thieves lie in await, and not without peril. 
Therefore be oft knots made on trees and in bushes, 
in boughs and in branches of trees, in token and 
mark of the highway, to show the certain and sure 
way to wayfaring men ; but oft the thieves in 
turning and meeting of ways, change such knots and 
signs, and beguile many men, and bring them out of 
the right way by false tokens and signs. 

It hath many hard twigs and branches with knots, 



no . - MEDIEVAL LORE 

and therewith often children are chastised and 
beaten on the bare buttocks and loins. And of the 
boughs and branches thereof are besoms made to 
sweep and to clean houses of dust and of other 
uncleanness. Wild men of woods and forests use 
that seed in stead of bread. And this tree hath 
much sour juice, and somewhat biting. And men 
use therefore in springing time and in harvest to slit 
the rinds, and to gather the humour that cometh out 
thereof, and drink it in stead of wine. 

Hards is the cleansing of hemp or of flax. For 
with much breaking, heckling, and rubbing, hards 
are departed fro the substance of hemp and of flax, 
and is great when it is departed, and more knotty, 
short, and rough. And is therefore not full able to 
be spun for thread thereof to be made, nathless 
thereof is thread spun that is full great, uneven, and 
full of knobs, and thereof are made bonds and 
bindings, and matches or candles ; for it is full dry 
and taketh soon fire and burneth. 

A board hight table, and is areared and set upon 
feet, and compassed with a list about. And, in 
another manner, table is a playing board, that men 



NATURAL HISTORY TREES in 

play on at the dice and other games ; and this 
manner of table is double, and arrayed with divers 
colours. In the third manner it is a thin plank and 
plane, and therein are letters writ with colours, and 
sometimes small shingles are planed and made some- 
deal hollow in either side, and filled full of wax, 
black, green, or red, to write therein. 

Boards and tables garnish houses, nathless when 
they be set in solar floors, they serve all men and 
beasts that are therein. Then they be dressed, 
hewed, and planed, and made convenable to use of 
ships, of bridges, of hulks, and coffers, and many 
other needful things of building. Also in shipbreach 
men flee to a board, and are oft saved in peril. 

Roofs are trees areared and stretched fro the walls 
up to the top of the house, and bear up the cover- 
ing thereof. And stand wide beneath, and come 
together upwards, and so they nigh nearer and 
nearer, and are joined either to other in the top of 
the house. It holdeth up heling, slates, shingle, and 
laths. The lath is long and somewhat broad, and 
plain and thin, and is nailed thwart over to the 
rafters, and thereon hang slates, tiles, and shingles. 
The rafters are strong and square, and hewn plain. 



ii2 MEDIEVAL LORE 

And are made fair within with fair joists and 
boards. 

A vineyard is busily tilthed and kept, and purged 
and cleaned of superfluities, and oft visited and 
overseen of the earth tilthers and keepers of vines, 
that it be not apaired neither destroyed with beasts, 
and is closed about with walls and with hedges, and 
a wait is there set in a high place to keep the vine- 
yard that the fruit be not destroyed. And is left in 
winter without keeper or waiter, but in harvest time 
many come and haunt the vineyard. In winter the 
vineyard is full pale, and waxeth green and bloometh 
in springing time and in summer, and smelleth full 
sweet, and is pleasant with fruit in harvest time. 
The smell of the vineyard that bloometh is contrary 
to all venomous things, and therefore when the 
vineyard bloometh, adders and serpents flee, and 
toads also, and may not sustain and suffer the noble 
savour thereof. 

Foxes lurk and hide themselves under vine leaves, 
and gnaw covetously and fret the grapes of the vine- 
yard, and namely when the keepers and wards be 
negligent and reckless, and it profiteth not that some 
unwise men do, that close within the vineyard 



NATURAL HISTORY TREES 113 

hounds, that are adversaries to foxes. For few 
hounds, so closed, waste and destroy more grapes than 
many foxes should destroy that come and eat there- 
of thievishly. Therefore wise wardens of vineyards 
be full busy to keep, that no swine nor tame hounds 
nor foxes come in to the vineyard. From fretting 
and gnawing of flies and of other worms, a vineyard 
may not be kept nor saved, but by His succour and 
help that all thing hath and pursueth in His power 
and might, and keepeth and saveth all lordly and 
mighty. 

The worthiness and praising of wine might not 
Bacchus himself describe at the full, though he were 
alive. For among all liquors and juice of trees, wine 
beareth the prize, for passing all liquors, wine 
moderately drunk most comforteth the body, and 
gladdeth the heart, and saveth wounds and evils. 
Wine strengtheneth all the members of the body, 
and giveth to each might and strength, and deed and 
working of the soul showeth and declareth the 
goodness of wine. And wine breedeth in the soul 
forgetting of anguish, of sorrow, and of woe, and 
suffereth not the soul to feel anguish and woe. 
Wine sharpeth the wit and maketh it cunning to 



U4 MEDIEVAL LORE 

enquire things that are hard and subtle, and maketh 
the soul bold and hardy, and so the passing nobility 
of wine is known. And use of wine accordeth to 
all men's ages and times and countries, if it be taken 
in due manner, and as his disposition asketh that 
drinketh it. 

Red wine that is temperate in its qualities, and is 
drunk temperately and in due manner, helpeth kind 
and gendreth good blood, and maketh savour in 
meat and in drink, and exciteth desire and appetite, 
and comforteth the virtue of life and of kind, and 
helpeth the stomach to have appetite, and to have 
and to make good digestion. And quencheth thirst, 
and changeth the passions of the soul and thoughts 
out of evil into good. For it turneth the soul out 
of cruelness into mildness, out of covetousness into 
largeness, out of pride into meekness, and out of 
dread into boldness. And shortly to speak, wine 
drunk measurably is health of body and of soul. 

And nothing is worse passing out of measure. 
And so Andronides, a clear man of wit and of wisdom, 
wrote to the great Alexander, to restrain wine kind in 
drinking, and said in this manner : " King, have 
mind that thou drinkest blood of the earth, for wine 
drinking untemperately is to mankind heavy and 



NATURAL HISTORY TREES 115 

venomous." And if Alexander had done by his 
counsel, truly he had not slain his own friend in 
drunkenness. If wine be often taken, anon by 
drunkenness it quencheth the sight of reason, and 
comforteth beastly madness, and so the body abideth 
as it were a ship in the sea without stern and without 
lodesman, and as chivalry without prince or duke. 



VI 



MEDIAEVAL NATURAL HISTORY BIRDS AND 
FISHES 

IN following out his plan of describing the productions of each 
element before considering the next in order, Bartholomew 
was led to consider air and its products early in his scheme. 
Accordingly his twelfth book is devoted to birds, and his thirteenth 
to the inhabitants of the waters. There is hardly any reason in 
these books for omitting any part more than another except space, 
but the editor hopes that those chosen will put the reader in 
possession of a key to the more common allusions in pre-Restora- 
tion literature. 

When the editor spoke of the wholesale way in which our 
author is conveyed by Elizabethan poets, he had in mind this and 
the following chapters. A single example will show this. Let 
the reader compare the account of the peacock with the following 
stanza from Chester's " Love's Martyr " : 

" The proud sun-braving peacocke with his feathers, 
Walkes all along, thinking himself a king, 
And with his voice prognosticates all weathers, 
Although, God knows, but badly he doth sing 5 
But when he looks downe to his base blacke feete, 
He droopes and is asham'd of things unmeet." 
116 



BIRDS AND FISHES 117 

Our author's knowledge of birds is largely derived the 
authentic from Aristotle ; the legendary from the Fathers, 
Ambrose, Austin, Basil, and Gregory, the Gloss, and from 
Pliny. Some of these legends seem to be pointed at in the Hebrew 
Scriptures. Thus Ps. ciij. 5, "Thy youth is renewed like the 
eagle's," cither gave rise to, or refers to, the tradition quoted 
in our account of the eagle : and likewise Job xxxviij. 41, and 
Ps. cxlvij. 9, seem to be responsible for the tradition in the account 
of the raven. It would be interesting to learn whether any 
independent traditions of this nature exist. 

It is worth pointing out that our author has contributed to the 
" Gesta Romanorum " several stories. The "wild tale," as 
Warton calls it, of the elephant and the maidens, as well as the 
story of " the storke wreker of avouterie " mentioned by Chaucer 
in the " Assemblie of Foules," and derived from Neckham, and 
the similar tale of the lioness, obtained their wide circulation 
through the popularity of Bartholomew's book. It would be an 
interesting task to trace these tales to their origin, but this is 
neither the place nor the time to do so j and the editor similarly 
leaves to lovers of Shakespeare the pleasure of proving to them- 
selves his intimate acquaintance with the book. 

In the part of the chapter quoted from the thirteenth book, the 
editor has tried to get together some of those stories which im- 
pressed people's minds most. Such a one is the tale of the remora. 
We remember Jonson's use of it in the " Poetaster " : 

" Death, I am seized here 
By a land remora j I cannot stir 
Nor move, but as he pleases." 

Other tales remind us of Olaus Magnus, and some of them are 
plainly Eastern. 



n8 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

Now it pertaineth to speak of birds and fowls, and in 
particular and first of the eagle, which hath princi- 
pality among fowls. Among all manner kinds of 
divers fowls, the eagle is the more liberal and free of 
heart. For the prey that she taketh, but it be for 
great hunger, she eateth not alone, but putteth it 
forth in common to fowls that follow her. But first 
she taketh her own portion and part. And therefore 
oft other fowls follow the eagle for hope and trust to 
have some part of her prey. But when the prey 
that is taken is not sufficient to herself, then as a 
king that taketh heed to a community, she taketh the 
bird that is next to her, and giveth it among the 
others, and serveth them therewith. 

Austin saith, and Plinius also, that in age the 
eagle hath darkness and dimness in eyen, and 
heaviness in wings. And against this disadvantage 
she is taught by kind to seek a well of springing 
water, and then she flieth up into the air as far as she 
may, till she be full hot by heat of the air, and by 
travail of flight, and so then by heat the pores are 
opened and the feathers chafed, and she falleth 
suddenly in to the well, and there the feathers are 
changed, and the dimness of her eyes is wiped away and 
purged, and she taketh again her might and strength. 



BIRDS AND FISHES 119 

The eagle's feathers done and set among feathers 
of wings of other birds corrupteth and fretteth them. 
As strings made of wolf-gut done and put into a lute 
or in an harp among strings made of sheep-gut do 
destroy, and fret, and corrupt the strings made of 
sheep-gut, if it so be that they be set among them, 
as in a lute or in an harp, as Pliny saith. 

Among all fowls, in the eagle the virtue of sight is 
most mighty and strong. For in the eagle the spirit 
of sight is most temperate and most sharp in act and 
deed of seeing and beholding the sun in the round- 
ness of its circle without blemishing of eyen. And 
the sharpness of her sight is not rebounded again 
with clearness of light of the sun, nother disperpled. 
There is one manner eagle that is full sharp of sight, 
and she taketh her own birds in her claws, and 
maketh them to look even on the sun, and that ere 
their wings be full grown, and except they look stiffly 
and steadfastly against the sun, she beateth them, and 
setteth them even tofore the sun. And if any eye of 
any of her birds watereth in looking on the sun she 
slayeth him, as though he went out of kind, or else 
driveth him out of the nest and despiseth him, and 
setteth not by him. 



120 MEDIEVAL LORE 

The goshawk is a royal fowl, and is armed more 
with boldness than with claws, and as much as kind 
taketh from her in quantity of body, it rewardcth her 
with boldness of heart. And two kinds there be of 
such fowls, for some are tame and some are wild. 
And she that is tame taketh wild fowls and taketh 
them to her own lord, and she that is wild taketh 
tame fowls. And this hawk is of a disdainful kind. 
For if she fail by any hap of the prey that she reseth 
to, that day unneth she cometh unto her lord's hand. 
And she must have ordinate diet, nother too scarce, 
ne too full. For by too much meat she waxeth 
ramaious or slow, and disdaineth to come to reclaim. 
And if the meat be too scarce then she faileth, and is 
feeble and unmighty to take her prey. Also the eyen 
of such birds should oft be seled and closed, or hid, 
that she bate not too oft from his hand that beareth 
her, when she seeth a bird that she desireth to take ; 
and also her legs must be fastened with gesses, that 
she shall not fly freely to every bird. And they be 
borne on the left hand, that they may somewhat take 
of the right hand, and be fed therewith. 

And so such tame hawks be kept in mews, that 
they may be discharged of old feathers and hard, and 
be so renewed in fairness of youth. Also men give 



BIRDS AND FISHES 121 

them meat of some manner of flesh, which is some- 
deal venomous, that they may the sooner change 
their feathers. And smoke grieveth such hawks and 
doth them harm. And therefore their mews must be 
far from smoky places, that their bodies be not grieved 
with bitterness of smoke, nor their feathers infect 
with blackness of smoke. They should be fed with 
fresh flesh and bloody, and men should use to give 
them to eat the hearts of fowls that they take. All 
the while they are alive and are strong and mighty to 
take their prey, they are beloved of their lords, and 
borne on hands, and set on perches, and stroked on 
the breast and on the tail, and made plain and 
smooth, and are nourished with great business and 
diligence. But when they are dead, all men hold 
them unprofitable and nothing worth, and be not 
eaten, but rather thrown out on dunghills. 

The properties of bees are wonderful noble and 
worthy. For bees have one common kind as children, 
and dwell in one habitation, and are closed within 
one gate : one travail is common to them all, one 
meat is common to them all, one common working, 
one common use, one fruit and flight is common to 
them all, and one generation is common to them all. 



122 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

Also maidenhood of body without wera is common 
to them all, and so is birth also. For they are not 
medlied with service of Venus, nother resolved with 
lechery, nother bruised with sorrow of birth of children. 
And yet they bring forth most swarms of children. 
Bees make among them a king, and ordain among 
them common people. And though they be put and 
set under a king, yet they are free and love their 
king that they make, by kind love, and defend him 
with full great defence, and hold [it] honour and 
worship to perish and be spilt for their king, and do 
their king so great worship that none of them dare go 
out of their house, nor to get meat, but if the king 
pass out and take the principality of flight. And 
bees chose to their king him that is most worthy and 
noble in highness and fairness, and most clear in 
mildness, for that is chief virtue in a king. For 
though their king have a sting yet he useth' it not in 
wreck. And also bees that are unobedient to the 
king, they deem themselves by their own doom for 
to die by the wound of their own sting. And of a 
swarm of bees is none idle. Some fight, as it were in 
battle, in the field against other bees, some are busy 
about meat, and some watch the coming of showers. 
And some behold concourse and meting of dues, and 



BIRDS AND FISHES 123 

some make wax of flowers, and some make cells now 
round, now square with wonder binding and joining, 
and evenness. And yet nevertheless, among so 
diverse works none of them doth espy nor wait to 
take out of other's travail, neither taketh wrongfully, 
neither stealeth meat, but each seeketh and gathereth 
by his own flight and travail among herbs and flowers 
that are good and convenable. 

Bees sit not on fruit but on flowers, not withered 
but fresh and new, and gather matter of the which 
they make both honey and wax. And when the 
flowers that are nigh unto them be spent, then they 
send spies for to espy meat in further places. And 
if the night falleth upon them in their journey, then 
they lie upright to defend their wings from rain, and 
from dew, that they may in the morrow tide fly the 
more swifter to their work with their wings dry 
and able to fly. And they ordain watches after the 
manner of castles, and rest all night until it be day, 
till one bee wake them all with twice buzzing or 
thrice, or with some manner trumping ; then they fly 
all, if the day be fair on the morrow. And the bees 
that bring and bear what is needful, dread blasts of 
wind, and fly therefore low by the ground when 



i2 4 MEDIEVAL LORE 

they be charged, lest they be letted with some 
manner of blasts, and charge themselves sometimes 
with gravel or with small stones, that they may be 
the more stedfast against blasts of wind by heaviness 
of the stones. 

The obedience of bees is wonderful about the 
king, for when he passeth forth, all the swarm in one 
cluster passeth with him. And he is beclipped 
about with the swarm, as it were with an host of 
knights. And is then unneth seen that time for the 
multitude that followeth and serveth him, and when 
the people of bees arc in travail, he is within, and as 
it were governor, and goeth about to comfort others 
for to work. And only he is not bound to travail. 
And all about him are certain bees with stings, as it 
were champions, and continual wardens of the king's 
body. And he passeth selde out, but when all the 
swarm shall go out. His outgoing is known certain 
days tofore by voice of the host, as it were arraying 
itself to pass out with the king. 

The culvour is messager of peace, ensample of 
simpleness, clean of kind, plenteous in children, 
follower of meekness, friend of company, forgetter 
of wrongs. The culvour is forgetful. And there- 



BIRDS AND FISHES 125 

fore when the birds are borne away, she forgetteth 
her harm and damage, and leaveth not therefore to 
build and breed in the same place. Also she is 
nicely curious. For sitting on a tree, she beholdeth 
and looketh all about toward what part she will fly, 
and bendeth her neck all about as it were taking 
avisement. But oft while she taketh avisement of 
flight, ere she taketh her flight, an arrow flieth 
through her body, and therefore she faileth of her 
purpose, as Gregory saith. 

Also as Ambrose saith, in Egypt and in Syria a 
culvour is taught to bear letters, and to be messager 
out of one province into another. For it loveth 
kindly the place and the dwelling where it was 
first fed and nourished. And be it never so far 
borne into far countries, always it will return 
home again, if it be restored to freedom. And 
oft to such a culvour a letter is craftily bound 
under the one wing, and then it is let go. 
Then it flieth up into the air, and ceaseth 
never till it come to the first place in which it 
was bred. And sometimes in the way enemies 
know thereof, and let it with an arrow, and so for 
the letters that it beareth, it is wounded and slain, 
and so it beareth no letter without peril. For 



126 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

oft the letter that is so borne is cause and occasion 
of the death of it. 

The crow is a bird of long life, and diviners tell 
that she taketh heed of spyings and awaitings, and 
teacheth and sheweth ways, and warneth what shall 
fall. But it is full unlawful to believe, that God 
sheweth His privy counsel to crows. It is said that 
crows rule and lead storks, and come about them as 
it were in routs, and fly about the storks and defend 
them, and fight against other birds and fowls that 
hate storks. And take upon them the battle of 
other birds, upon their own peril. And an open 
proof thereof is : for in that time, that the storks 
pass out of the country, crows are not seen in places 
there they were wont to be. And also for they 
come again with sore wounds, and with voice of 
blood, that is well known, and with other signs and 
tokens and show that they have been in strong 
fighting. Also there it is said, that the mildness 
of the bird is wonderful. For when father and 
mother in age are both naked and bare of covering 
of feathers, then the young crows hide and cover 
them with their feathers, and gather meat and feed 
them. 



BIRDS AND FISHES 127 

The raven beholdeth the mouths of her birds 
when they yawn. But she giveth them no meat 
ere she know and see the likeness of her own black- 
ness, and of her own colour and feathers. And 
when they begin to wax black, then afterward she 
feedeth them with all her might and strength. It 
is said that ravens' birds are fed with dew of heaven 
all the time that they have no black feathers by 
benefit of age. Among fowls, only the raven hath 
four and sixty changings of voice. 

The swan feigneth sweetness of sweet songs with 
accord of voice, and he singeth sweetly for he hath 
a long neck diversely bent to make divers notes. 
And it is said that, in the countries that are called 
Hyperborean, the harpers harping before, the swans' 
birds fly out of their nests and sing full merrily. 
Shipmen trow that it tokeneth good if they meet 
swans in peril of shipwreck. Always the swan is 
the most merriest bird in divinations. Shipmen 
desire this bird for he dippeth not down in the waves. 
When the swan is in love he seeketh the female, and 
pleaseth her with beclippingof the neck, and draweth 
her to him-ward ; and he joineth his neck to the 
female's neck, as it were binding the necks together. 



128 MEDIEVAL LORE 

Phoenix is a bird, and there is but one of that 
kind in all the wide world. Therefore lewd men 
wonder thereof, and among the Arabs, there this 
bird is bred, he is called singular alone. The 
philosopher speaketh of this bird and saith that 
phoenix is a bird without make, and liveth three 
hundred or five hundred years : when the which 
years are past, and he feeleth his own default and 
feebleness, he maketh a nest of right sweet-smelling 
sticks, that are full dry, and in summer when the 
western wind blows, the sticks and the nest are set 
on fire with burning heat of the sun, and burn 
strongly. Then this bird phoenix cometh wilfully 
into the burning nest, and is there burnt to ashes 
among these burning sticks, and within three days 
a little worm is gendered of the ashes, and waxeth 
little and little, and taketh feathers and is shapen 
and turned to a bird. Ambrose saith the same 
in the Hexameron : Of the humours or ashes of 
phoenix ariseth a new bird and waxeth, and in space 
of time he is clothed with feathers and wings and 
restored into the kind of a bird, and is the most 
fairest bird that is, most like to the peacock in 
feathers, and loveth the wilderness, and gathereth 
his meat of clean grains and fruits. Alan speaketh 



BIRDS AND FISHES 129 

of this bird and saith, that when the highest bishop 
Onyas builded a temple in the city of Heliopolis in 
Egypt, to the likeness of the temple in Jerusalem, 
on the first day of Easter, when he had gathered 
much sweet-smelling wood, and set it on fire upon 
the altar to offer sacrifice, to all men's sight such a 
bird came suddenly, and fell into the middle of the 
fire, and was burnt anon to ashes in the fire of the 
sacrifice, and the ashes abode there, and were busily 
kept and saved by the commandments of the priests, 
and within three days, of these ashes was bred a 
little worm, that took the shape of a bird at the last, 
and flew into the wilderness. 

The crane is a bird of great wings and strong 
flight, and flieth high into the air to see the 
countries towards the which he will draw. And is 
a bird that loveth birds of his own kind, and they 
living in company together have a king among them 
and fly in order. And the leader of the company 
compelleth the company to fly aright, crying as it 
were blaming with his voice. And if it hap that 
he wax hoarse, then another crane cometh after him, 
and taketh the same office. And after they fall to 
the earth crying, for to rest, and when they sit on 

K 



130 MEDIEVAL LORE 

the ground, to keep and save them, they ordain 
watches that they may rest the more surely, and the 
wakers stand upon one foot, and each of them 
holdeth a little stone in the other foot, high from 
the earth, that they may be waked by falling of the 
stone, if it hap that they sleep. 

A griffin is accounted among flying things (Deut. 
xiiij.) and there the Gloss saith, that the griffin is 
four-footed, and like to the eagle in head and in 
wings, and is like to the lion in the other parts of the 
body. And dwelleth in those hills that are called 
Hyperborean, and are most enemies to horses and 
men, and grieveth them most, and layeth in his nest 
a stone that hight Smaragdus against venomous 
beasts of the mountain. 

A pelican is a bird of Egypt, and dwelleth in 
deserts beside the river Nile. All that the pelican 
eateth, he plungeth in water with his foot, and 
when he hath so plunged it in water, he putteth it 
into his mouth with his own foot, as it were with an 
hand. Only the pelican and the popinjay among 
fowls use the foot instead of an hand. 

The pelican loveth too much her children. For 



BIRDS AND FISHES 131 

when the children be haught, and begin to wax 
hoar, they smite the father and the mother in the 
face, wherefore the mother smiteth them again and 
slayeth them. And the third day, the mother 
smiteth herself in her side, that the blood runneth 
out, and sheddeth that hot blood on the bodies of 
her children. And by virtue of that blood, the 
birds that were before dead quicken again. 

Master Jacobus de Vitriaco in his book of the 
wonders of the Eastern parts telleth another cause 
of the death of pelicans' birds. He saith that the 
serpent hateth kindly this bird. Wherefore when 
the mother passeth out of the nest to get meat, the 
serpent climbeth on the tree, and stingeth and 
infecteth the birds. And when the mother cometh 
again, she maketh sorrow three days for her birds, as 
it is said. Then (he saith) she smiteth herself in 
the breast and springeth blood upon them, and 
reareth them from death to life, and then for great 
bleeding the mother waxeth feeble, and the birds 
are compelled to pass out of the nest to get them- 
selves meat. And some of them for kind love feed 
the mother that is feeble, and some are unkind and 
care not for the mother, and the mother taketh good 
heed thereto, and when she cometh to her strength, 



1 32 MEDIEVAL LORE 

she nourisheth and loveth those birds that fed her in 
her need, and putteth away her other birds, as 
unworthy and unkind, and suffereth them not to 
dwell nor live with her. 

The peacock hath an unsteadfast and evil shapen 
head, as it were the head of a serpent, and with a 
crest. And he hath a simple pace, and small neck 
and areared, and a blue breast, and a tail full of eyes 
distinguished and high with wonder fairness, and he 
hath foulest feet and rivelled. And he wondereth 
of the fairness of his feathers, and areareth them up 
as it were a circle about his head, and then he 
looketh to his feet, and seeth the foulness of his feet, 
and like as he were ashamed he letteth his feathers 
fall suddenly, and all the tail downward, as though 
he took no heed of the fairness of his feathers. And 
as one saith, he hath the voice of a fiend, head of a 
serpent, pace of a thief. For he hath an horrible 
voice. 

In this bird [the vulture] the wit of smelling is best. 
And therefore by smelling he savoureth carrions that 
be far from him, that is beyond the sea, and ayenward. 
Therefore the vulture followeth the host that he 



BIRDS AND FISHES 133 

may feed himself with carrions of men and of 
horses. And therefore (as a Diviner saith), when 
many vultures come and fly together, it tokeneth 
battle. And they know that such a battle shall be, 
by some privy wit of kind. He eateth raw flesh, 
and therefore he fighteth against other fowls because 
of meat, and he hunteth fro midday to night, and 
resteth still fro the sunrising to that time. And 
when he ageth, his over bill waxeth long and 
crooked over the nether, and [he] dieth at the last 
for hunger. 

And some men say, by error of old time, that the 
vulture was sometime a man, and was cruel to some 
pilgrims, and therefore he hath such pain of his 
bill, and dieth for hunger, but that is not lawful to 
believe. 

Jorath saith, that there is a great fish in the sea, 
that hight Bellua, that casteth out water at his jaws 
with vapour of good smell, and other fish feel the 
smell and follow him, and enter and come in at his 
jaws following the smell, and he swalloweth them 
and is so fed with them. Also he saith that 
Dolphins know by the smell if a dead man, that is 
on the sea, ate ever of Dolphin's kind ; and if the 



134 MEDIEVAL LORE 

dead man hath eat thereof, he eateth him anon ; 
and if he did not, he keepeth and defendeth him 
fro eating and biting of other fish, and shoveth 
him, and bringeth him to the cliff with his own 
working. 

Enchirius is a little fish unneth half a foot long : 
for though he be full little of body, nathless he is 
most of virtue. For he cleaveth to the ship, and 
holdeth it still stedfastly in the sea, as though the 
ship were on ground therein. Though winds blow, 
and waves arise strongly, and wood storms, that ship 
may not move nother pass. And that fish holdeth 
not still the ship by no craft, but only cleaving to 
the ship. It is said of the same fish that when he 
knoweth and feeleth that tempests of wind and 
weather be great, he cometh and taketh a great 
stone, and holdeth him fast thereby, as it were by 
an anchor, lest he be smitten away and thrown about 
by waves of the sea. And shipmen see this and 
beware that they be not overset unwarily with 
tempest and with storms. 

The crab is enemy to the oyster. For he 
liveth by fish thereof with a wonderful wit. For 



BIRDS AND FISHES 135 

because that he may not open the hard shell of the 
oyster, he spieth and awaiteth when the oyster 
openeth, and then the crab, that lieth in await, 
taketh a little stone, and putteth it between the 
shells, that the oyster may not close himself. And 
when the closing is so let, the crab eateth and 
gnaweth the flesh of the oyster. 

It is said that the whale hath great plenty of 
sperm, and after that he gendereth, superfluity 
thereof fleeteth above the water ; and if it be 
gathered and dried it turneth to the substance of 
amber. And in age, for greatness of body, on his 
ridge powder and earth is gathered, and so digged 
together that herbs and small trees and bushes 
grow thereon, so that that great fish seemeth an 
island. And if shipmen come unwarily there- 
by, unneth they scape without peril. For he 
throweth as much water out of his mouth upon 
the ship, that he overturneth it sometime or 
drowneth it. 

Also he is so fat that when he is smitten with 
fishers' darts he feeleth not the wound, but it passeth 
throughout the fatness. But when the inner fish is 
wounded, then is he most easily taken. For he may 



136 MEDIEVAL LORE 

not suffer the bitterness of the salt water, and there- 
fore he draweth to the shoreward. And also he is 
so huge in quantity, that when he is taken, all the 
country is better for the taking. Also he loveth his 
whelps with a wonder love, and leadeth them 
about in the sea long time. And if it happeth that 
his whelps be let with heaps of gravel, and by 
default of water, he taketh much water in his 
mouth, and throweth upon them, and delivereth 
them in that wise out of peril, and bringeth them 
again into the deep sea. And for to defend them 
he putteth himself against all things that he meeteth 
if it be noyful to them, and setteth them always 
between himself and the sun on the more secure 
side. And when strong tempest ariseth, while his 
whelps are tender and young, he swalloweth them 
up into his own womb. And when the tempest is 
gone and fair weather come, then he casteth them 
up whole and sound. 

Also Jorath saith, that against the whale fighteth 
a fish of serpent's kind, and is venomous as a 
crocodile. And then other fish come to the 
whale's tail, and if the whale be overcome the other 
fish die. And if the venomous fish may not over- 
come the whale, then he throweth out of his jaws 



BIRDS AND FISHES 137 

into the water a famous smell most stinking. And 
the whale throweth out of his mouth a sweet 
smelling smoke, and putteth off the stinking smell, 
and defendeth and saveth himself and his in that 
manner wise. 



VII 

MEDIAEVAL NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 

THE eighteenth book of the " De Proprietatibus " is devoted 
to the properties of animals. It is composed of selections 
from Pliny and Aristotle, from the works of the 
mediaeval physicians and romancers, from Magister Jacobus de 
Vitriaco, from the " Historia Alexandri Magni de Proeliis," from 
Physiologus and the Bestiarium. 

The editor has been obliged to reduce some of these extracts 
to make room for others. Among these the reader will find many 
examples of those legends, which made up the popular Natural 
History of early days, originally imported from the East through 
Spain and Italy. The memory of these survives even now in our 
popular locutions. " Licked into shape " refers to the tale we give 
in our account of the bear. The royal nature of the lion is a 
commonplace : Jonson and Spenser speak of the sweet breath of 
the panther. Drayton, in his " Heroical Epistles," quotes the 
siren and the hyena as examples : 

" To call for aid, and then to lie in wait, 
So the hyena murthers by deceit, 
By sweet enticement sudden death to bring, 
So from the rocks th' alluring mermaids sing." 

138 



NATURAL HISTORYANIMALS 139 

Trevisa has invented an adjective for us that expresses the 
midnight caterwaul-" ghastful." Bartholomew probably suffered 
from those two minor curses of humanity the amorous cat and 
the wandering cur. But he has preserved for us a noble eulogy 
of the dog, and has a reference to the tale of the dog of Montargis, 
the standing example of canine fidelity among a chivalrous folk. 

IT is said, that in India is a beast wonderly shapen, 
and is like to the bear in body and in hair, and to a 
man in face. And hath a right red head, and a full 
great mouth, and an horrible, and in either jaw three 
rows of teeth distinguished atween. The outer limbs 
thereof be as it were the outer limbs of a lion, and 
his tail is like to a wild scorpion, with a sting, and 
smiteth with hard bristle pricks as a wild swine, 
and hath an horrible voice, as the voice of a trumpet, 
and he runneth full swiftly, and eateth men. And 
among all beasts of the earth is none found more 
cruel, nor more wonderly shape, as Avicenna saith. 
And this beast is called Baricos in Greek. 

The boar is so fierce a beast, and also so cruel, 
that for his fierceness and his cruelness, he despiseth 
and setteth nought by death, and he reseth full 
piteously against the point of a spear of the hunter. 
And though it be so that he be smitten or slicked 



140 MEDIEVAL LORE 

with a spear through the body, yet for the greater 
ire and cruelness in heart that he hath, he reseth 
on his enemy, and taketh comfort and heart and 
strength for to wreak himself on his adversary with 
his tusks, and puttcth himself in peril of death with 
a wonder fierceness against the weapon of his enemy, 
and hath in his mouth two crooked tusks right strong 
and sharp, and breaketh and rendeth cruelly with 
them those which he withstandeth. And useth the 
tusks instead of a sword. And hath a hard shield, 
broad and thick in the right side, and putteth that 
always against his weapon that pursueth him, and 
useth that brawn instead of a shield to defend him- 
self. And when he spieth peril that should befall, 
he whetteth his tusks and frotteth them, and 
assayeth in that while frotting against trees, if the 
points of his tusks be all blunt. And if he feel that 
they be blunt, he seeketh a herb which is called 
Origanum, and gnaweth it and cheweth it, and 
cleanseth and comforteth the roots of his teeth 
therewith by vertue thereof. 

The ass is fair of shape and of disposition while 
he is young and tender, or he pass into age. For 
the elder the ass is, the fouler he waxeth from day 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 141 

to day, and hairy and rough, and is a melancholy 
beast, that is cold and dry, and is therefore kindly 
heavy and slow, and unlusty, dull and witless and 
forgetful. Nathless he beareth burdens, and may 
away with travail and thraldom, and useth vile meat 
and little, and gathereth his meat among briars and 
thorns and thistles. . . . And the ass hath another 
wretched condition known to nigh all men. For he 
is put to travail over-night, and is beaten with staves, 
and sticked and pricked with pricks, and his mouth 
is wrung with a bernacle, and is led hither and 
thither, and withdrawn from leas and pasture that is 
in his way oft by the refraining of the bernacle, and 
dieth at last after vain travails, and hath no reward 
after his death for the service and travail that he 
had living, not so much that his own skin is left 
with him, but it is taken away, and the carrion is 
thrown out without sepulture or burials ; but it be 
so much of the carrion that by eating and devouring 
is sometimes buried in the wombs of hounds and 
wolves. 

And such [adders] lie in await for them that sleep: 
and if they find the mouth open of them or of other 
beasts, then they creep in : for they love heat and 



i 4 2 MEDIEVAL LORE 

humour that they find here. But against such adders 
a little beast fighteth that hight Saura, as it were a 
little ewt, and some men mean that it is a lizard ; 
for when this beast is aware that this serpent is 
present, then he leapeth upon his face that sleepeth, 
and scratcheth with his feet to wake him, and to 
warn him of the serpent. And when this little beast 
waxeth old, his eyen wax blind, and then he goeth 
into an hole of a wall against the east, and openeth 
his eyen afterward when the sun is risen, and then 
his eyen heat and take light. 

This slaying adder and venomous hath wit to love 
and affection, and loveth his mate as it were by love 
of wedlock, and liveth not well without company. 
Therefore if the one is slain, the other pursueth him 
that slew that other with so busy wreak and 
vengeance, that passeth weening. And knoweth 
the slayer, and reseth on him, be he in never so 
great company of men and of people, and busieth 
to slay him, and passeth all difficulties and spaces of 
ways, and with wreak of the said death of his mate. 
And is not let, ne put off, but it be by swift flight, 
or by waters or rivers. 

Marcianus saith that the asp grieveth not men of 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 143 

Africa or Moors; for they take their children that 
they have suspect, and put them to these adders: 
and if the children be of their kind, this adder 
grieveth them not, and if they be of other kind, 
anon they die by venom of the adder. 

An oxherd hight Bubulcus, and is ordained by 
office to keep oxen : He feedeth and nourisheth 
oxen, and bringeth them to leas and home again : 
and bindeth their feet with a langhaldes and spanells 
and nigheth and cloggeth them while they be in 
pasture and leas, and yoketh and maketh them draw 
at the plough : and pricketh the slow with a goad, 
and maketh them draw even. And pleaseth them 
with whistling and with song, to make them bear 
the yoke with the better will for liking of melody 
of the voice. And this herd driveth and ruleth them 
to draw even, and teacheth them to make even 
furrows : and compelleth them not only to ear, but 
also to tread and to thresh. And they lead them 
about upon corn to break the straw in threshing 
and treading the flour. And when the travail is 
done, then they unyoke them and bring them to 
the stall : and tie them to the stall, and feed them 
thereat. 



i 4 4 MEDIEVAL LORE 

The cockatrice hight Basiliscus in Greek, and 
Regulus in Latin ; and hath that name Regulus of 
a little king, for he is king of serpents, and they 
be afraid, and flee when they see him. For he 
slayeth them with his smell and with his breath : 
and slayeth also anything that hath life with breath 
and with sight. In his sight no fowl nor bird passeth 
harmless, and though he be far from the fowl, yet it 
is burned and devoured by his mouth. But he is 
overcome of the weasel ; and men bring the weasel 
to the cockatrice's den, where he lurketh and is 
hid. For the father and maker of everything left 
nothing without remedy. Among the Hisperies 
and Ethiopians is a well, that many men trow is 
the head of Nile, and there beside is a wild beast 
that hight Catoblefas, and hath a little body, and 
nice in all members, and a great head hanging 
always toward the earth, and else it were great 
noying to mankind. For all that see his eyen, 
should die anon, and the same kind hath the 
cockatrice, and the serpent that is bred in the 
province of Sirena ; and hath a body in length and 
in breadth as the cockatrice, and a tail of twelve 
inches long, and hath a speck in his head as a 
precious stone, and feareth away all serpents with 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 145 

hissing. And he presseth not his body with much 
bowing, but his course of way is forthright, and 
goeth in mean. He drieth and burneth leaves and 
herbs, not only with touch but also by hissing and 
blast he rotteth and corrupteth all things about him. 
And he is of so great venom and perilous, that he 
slayeth and wasteth him that nigheth him by the 
length of a spear, without tarrying ; and yet the 
weasel taketh and overcometh him, for the biting of 
the weasel is death to the cockatrice. And never- 
theless the biting of the cockatrice is death to the 
weasel. And that is sooth, but if the weasel eat 
rue before. And though the cockatrice be venomous 
without remedy, while he is alive, yet he loseth all 
the malice when he is burnt to ashes. His ashes 
be accounted good and profitable in working of 
Alchemy, and namely in turning and changing of 
metals. 

Nothing is more busy and wittier than a hound, 
for he hath more wit than other beasts. And 
hounds know their own names, and love their 
masters, and defend the houses of their masters, and 
put themselves wilfully in peril of death for their 
masters, and run to take prey for their masters, 

L 



146 MEDIEVAL LORE 

and forsake not the dead bodies of their masters. 
We have known that hounds fought for their lords 
against thieves, and were sore wounded, and that 
they kept away beasts and fowls from their masters' 
bodies dead. And that a hound compelled the 
slayer of his master with barking and biting to 
acknowledge his trespass and guilt. Also we read 
that Garamantus the king came out of exile, and 
brought with him two hundred hounds, and fought 
against his enemies with wondrous hardiness. 

Other hounds flee and avoid the wood hound as 
pestilence and venom : and he is always exiled as it 
were an outlaw, and goeth alone wagging and rolling 
as a drunken beast, and runneth yawning, and his 
tongue hangeth out, and his mouth drivelleth and 
foameth, and his eyes be overturned and reared, and 
his ears lie backward, and his tail is wrinkled by the 
legs and thighs ; and though his eyes be open, yet 
he stumbleth and spurneth against every thing. And 
barketh at his own shadow. . . . Pliny saith that 
under the hound's tongue lieth a worm that maketh 
the hound wood, and if this worm is taken out of 
the tongue, then the evil ceaseth. . . . Also an 
hound is wrathful and malicious, so that for to 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 147 

awreak himself, he biteth oft the stone that is 
thrown to him : and biteth the stone with great 
woodness, that he breaketh his own teeth, and 
grieveth not the stone, but his own teeth full sore. 
Also he is guileful and deceivable, and so oft he 
fickleth and fawneth with his tail on men that pass 
by the way, as though he were a friend, and biteth 
them sore if they take none heed backward. And 
the hound hateth stones and rods, and is bold and 
hardy among them that he knoweth, and busieth to 
bite and to fear all other, and is not bold when he 
passeth among strangers. Also the hound is envious, 
and gathereth herbs privily, and is right sorry if any 
man know the virtue of those herbs, as is also evil 
apaid if any strange hounds and unknown come into 
the place where he dwelleth ; and dreadeth lest he 
should fare the worse for the other hound's pres- 
ence, and fighteth with him therefore. Also he is 
covetous and scarce, and busy to lay up and to hide 
the relief that he leaveth. And therefore he com- 
moneth not, nor giveth flesh and marrow-bones that 
he may not devour to other hounds : but layeth 
them up busily, and hideth them until he hungereth 
again. . . . And at the last the hound is violently 
drawn out of the dunghill with a rope or with a 



148 MEDIEVAL LORE 

whip bound about his neck, and is drowned in the 
river, or in some other water, and so he endeth his 
wretched life. And his skin is not taken off, nor 
his flesh is not eaten or buried, but left finally to 
flies, and to other divers worms. 

In Pontus is a manner kind of beasts, that 
dwelleth now in land and now in water, and maketh 
houses and dens arrayed with wonder craft in the 
brinks of rivers and of waters. For these beasts live 
together in flocks, and love beasts of the same kind, 
and come together and cut rods and sticks with their 
teeth, and bring them home to their dens in a wonder 
wise, for they lay one of them upright on the ground, 
instead of a sled or of a dray, with his legs and feet 
reared upward, and lay and load the sticks and wood 
between his legs and thighs, and draw him home to 
their dens, and unlade and discharge him there, and 
make their dwelling places right strong by great 
subtlety of craft. In their houses be two chambers 
or three distinguished, as it were three cellars, and 
they dwell in the over place when the water ariseth, 
and in the nether when the water is away, and each 
of them hath a certain hole properly made in the 
cellar, by the which hole he putteth out his tail in 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 149 

the water, for the tail is of fishy kind, it may not 
without water be long kept without corruption. 

If the crocodile findeth a man by the brim of the 
water, or by the cliff, he slayeth him if he may, and 
then he weepeth upon him, and swalloweth him at 
the last. 

The Dragon is most greatest of all serpents, and 
oft he is drawn out of his den, and riseth up into the 
air, and the air is moved by him, and also the sea 
swelleth against his venom, and he hath a crest with 
a little mouth, and draweth breath at small pipes and 
straight, and reareth his tongue, and hath teeth like 
a saw, and hath strength, and not only in teeth, but 
also in his tail, and grieveth both with biting and 
with stinging, and hath not so much venom as other 
serpents : for to the end to slay anything, to him 
venom is not needful, for whom he findeth he 
slayeth, and the elephant is not secure of him, for all 
his greatness of body. Oft four or five of them fasten 
their tails together, and rear up their heads, and sail 
over sea and over rivers to get good meat. Between 
elephants and dragons is everlasting fighting, for the 
dragon with his tail bindeth and spanneth the 



150 MEDIEVAL LORE 

elephant, and the elephant with his foot and with 
his nose throweth down the dragon, and the dragon 
bindeth and spanneth the elephant's legs, and maketh 
him fall, but the dragon buyeth it full sore : for 
while he slayeth the elephant, the elephant falleth 
upon him and slayeth him. Also the elephant seeing 
the dragon upon a tree, busieth him to break the tree 
to smite the dragon, and the dragon leapeth upon the 
elephant, and busieth him to bite him between the 
nostrils, and assaileth the elephant's eyen, and maketh 
him blind sometime, and leapeth upon him some- 
time behind, and biteth him and sucketh his blood. 
And at the last after long fighting the elephant 
waxeth feeble for great blindness, in so much that he 
falleth upon the dragon, and slayeth in his dying the 
dragon that him slayeth. The cause why the dragon 
desireth his blood, is coldness of the elephant's blood, 
by the which the dragon desireth to cool himself. 
Jerome saith, that the dragon is a full thirsty beast, 
insomuch that unneth he may have water enough to 
quench his great thirst ; and openeth his mouth 
therefore against the wind, to quench the burning of 
his thirst in that wise. Therefore when he seeth 
ships sail in the sea in great wind, he flieth against 
the sail to take their cold wind, and overthroweth 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 151 

the ship sometimes for greatness of body, and strong 
rese against the sail. And when the shipmen see the 
dragon come nigh, and know his coming by the 
water that swelleth ayenge him, they strike the sail 
anon, and scape in that wise. 

Horses be joyful in fields, and smell battles, and 
be comforted with noise of trumpets to battle and to 
fighting ; and be excited to run with noise that they 
know, and be sorry when they be overcome, and glad 
when they have the mastery. And so feeleth and 
knoweth their enemies in battle so far forth that 
they a-rese on their enemies with biting and smiting, 
and also some know their own lords, and forget mild- 
ness, if their lords be overcome : and some horses 
suffer no man to ride on their backs, but only their 
own lords. And many horses weep when their lords 
be dead. And it is said that horses weep for sorrow, 
right as a man doth, and so the kind of horse and of 
man is medlied. Also oft men that shall fight take 
evidence and divine and guess what shall befall, by 
sorrow or by the joy that the horse maketh. Old 
men mean that in gentle horse, noble men take heed 
of four things, of shape, and of fairness, of wil- 
fulness, and of colour. 



152 MEDIEVAL LORE 

In his forehead when he is foaled is found 
Iconemor, a black skin of the quantity of a sedge, 
that hight also Amor's Veneficium ; and the mother 
licketh it off with her tongue, and taketh it away and 
hideth it or eateth it. For women that be witches 
use that skin in their sayings, when they will excite 
a man to love. . . . The colt is not littered with 
straw, nor curried with an horse comb, nor arrayed 
with trapping and gay harness, nor smitten with 
spurs, nor saddled with saddle, nor tamed with bridle, 
but he followeth his mother freely, and eateth grass, 
and his feet be not pierced with nails, but he is 
suffered to run hither and thither freely : but at the 
last he is set to work and to travail, and is held and 
tied and led with halters and reins, and taken from 
his mother, and may not suck his dam's teats ; but 
he is taught in many manner wise to go easily and 
soft. And he is set to carts, chariots, and cars, and to 
travel and bearing of horsemen in chivalry : and so 
the silly horse colt is foaled to divers hap of fortune. 
Isidore saith, that horses were sometime hallowed in 
divers usage of the gods. 

Among beasts the elephant is most of virtue, so 
that unneth among men is so great readiness found. 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 153 

For in the new moon they come together in great 
companies, and bathe and wash them in a river, and 
lowte each to other, and turn so again to their own 
places, and they make the young go tofore in the 
turning again ; and keep them busily and teach 
them to do in the same wise : and when they be 
sick, they gather good herbs, and ere they use the 
herbs they heave up the head, and look up toward 
heaven, and pray for help of God in a certain re- 
ligion. And they be good of wit, and learn well : 
and are easy to teach, insomuch that they be taught 
to know the king and to worship him, and busy to 
do him reverence and to bend the knees in worship 
of him. If elephants see a man coming against 
them that is out of the way in the wilderness, for 
they would not affray him, they will draw them- 
selves somewhat out of the way, and then they stint, 
and pass little and little tofore him, and teach him 
the way. And if a dragon come against him, they 
fight with the dragon and defend the man, and put 
them forth to defend the man strongly and mightily : 
and do so namely when they have young foals, for 
they dread that the man seeketh their foals. And 
therefore they purpose first to deliver them of the 
man, that they may more securely feed their children 



154 MEDIEVAL LORE 

and keep them the more warily. . . . Elephants 
be best in chivalry when they be tame : for they 
bear towers of tree, and throw down sheltrons, and 
overturn men of arms, and that is wonderful ; for 
they dread not men of arms ranged in battle, and 
dread and flee the voice of the least sound of a 
swine. When they be taken, they be made tame 
and mild with barley : and a cave or a ditch is 
made under the earth, as it were a pitfall in the 
elephant's way, and unawares he falleth therein. 
And then one of the hunters cometh to him and 
beateth and smiteth him, and pricketh him full sore. 
And then another hunter cometh and smiteth the 
first hunter, and doth him away, and defendeth the 
elephant, and giveth him barley to eat, and when 
he hath eaten thrice or four times, then he loveth 
him that defended him, and is afterward mild and 
obedient to him. I have read in Physiologus' book 
that the elephant is a beast that passeth all other 
four-footed beasts in quantity, in wit, and in mind. 
For among other doings elephants lie never down 
in sleeping ; but when they be weary they lean to 
a tree and so rest somewhat. And men lie in wait 
to espy their resting places privily, for to cut the 
tree in the other side : and the elephant cometh 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 155 

and is not aware of the fraud, and leaneth to the 
tree and breaketh it with the weight of his body, 
and falleth down with the breaking, and lieth there. 
And when he seeth he may not help himself in 
falling he crieth and roareth in a wonder manner : 
and by his noise and crying come suddenly many 
young elephants, and rear up the old little and 
little with all their strength and might : and while 
they arear him with wonder affection and love, they 
bend themselves with all their might and strength. 
. . . Also there is another thing said that is full 
wonderful : among the Ethiopians in some countries 
elephants be hunted in this wise : there go in the 
desert two maidens all naked and bare, with open 
hair of the head : and one of them beareth a vessel, 
and the other a sword. And these maidens begin 
to sing alone : and the beast hath liking when he 
heareth their song, and cometh to them, and licketh 
their teats, and falleth asleep anon for liking of the 
song, and then the one maid sticketh him in the 
throat or in the side with a sword, and the other 
taketh his blood in a vessel, and with that blood 
the people of the same country dye cloth, and done 
colour it therewith. 



156 MEDIEVAL LORE 

Satyrs be somewhat like men, and have crooked 
nose and horns in the forehead, and like to goats in 
their feet. Saint Anthony saw such a one in the 
wilderness, as it is said, and he asked what he was, 
and he answered Anthony, and said : u I am deadly, 
and one of them that dwelleth in the wilderness." 
These wonderful beasts be divers : for some of 
them be called Cyno[ce]phali, for they have heads as 
hounds, and seem by the working, beasts rather than 
men, and some be called Cyclops, and have that 
name, for one of them hath but one eye, and that 
in the middle of the forehead, and some be all 
headless and noseless, and their eyen be in the 
shoulders, and some have plain faces without nostrils, 
and the nether lips of them stretch so, that they 
hele therewith their faces when they be in the 
heat of the sun : and some of them have closed 
mouths, in their breasts only one hole, and breathe 
and suck as it were with pipes and veins, and these 
be accounted tongueless, and use signs and becks 
instead of speaking. Also in Scythia be some with 
so great and large ears, that they spread their ears 
and cover all their bodies with them, and these be 
called Panchios. . . . And other be in Ethiopia, 
and each of them have only one foot so great and 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 157 

so large, that they beshadow themselves with the 
foot when they lie gaping on the ground in strong 
heat of the sun ; and yet they be so swift, that 
they be likened to hounds in swiftness of running, 
and therefore among the Greeks they be called 
Cynopodes. Also some have the soles of their feet 
turned backward behind the legs, and in each foot 
eight toes, and such go about and stare in the desert 
of Lybia. 

The griffin is a beast with wings, and is four 
footed : and breedeth in the mountains Hyperborean, 
and is like to the lion in all the parts of the body, 
and to the eagle only in the head and wings. And 
griffins keep the mountains in which be gems and 
precious stones, and suffer them not to be taken 
from thence. 

The hyena is a cruel beast like to the wolf in 
devouring and gluttony, and reseth on dead men, 
and taketh their carcase out of the earth, and 
devoureth them. It is his kind to change sex, for 
he is now found male, and now female, and is 
therefore an unclean beast, and cometh to hoveys 
by night, and feigneth man's voice as he may, for 



158 MEDIEVAL LORE 

men should trow that it is a man. Pliny saith : 
It is said he is one year male and another female. 
And she bringeth forth her brood without male, as 
the common people trow." But Aristotle denieth 
that. And hath the neck of the adder, and the 
ridge of an elephant, and may not bend but if he 
bear all the body about. And herds tell that among 
stables, he feigneth speech of mankind, and calleth 
some man by his own name, and rendeth him when 
he hath him without. And he feigneth oft the 
name of some man, for to make hounds run out, 
that he may take and eat them. . . . And his 
shadow maketh hounds leave barking and be still, 
if he come near them. And if this beast hyena 
goeth thrice about any beast, that beast shall stint 
within his steps. Pliny saith that the hyena hateth 
the panther. And it is said that if both their skins 
be hanged together, the hair of the panther's skin 
shall fall away. This beast hyena fleeth the hunter, 
and draweth toward the right side, to occupy the 
trace of the man that goeth before : and if he 
cometh not after, he telleth that he goeth out of 
his wit, or else the man falleth down off his horse. 
And if he turn against the hyena, the beast is soon 
taken, as magicians tell. And also witches use the 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 159 

heart of this beast and the liver, in many witch- 
crafts. 

Some lions be short with crisp hair and mane, 
and these lions fight not ; and some lions have 
simple hair of mane, and those lions have sharp and 
fierce hearts, and by their foreheads and tails their 
virtue is known in the beast, and their stedfastness 
in the head : and when they be beset with hunters, 
then they behold the earth, for to dread the less 
the hunters and their gins, that them have beset 
about : and he dreadeth noise and rushing of wheels, 
but he dreadeth fire much more. And when they 
sleep their eyes wake : and when they go forth or 
about, they hele and hide their fores and steps, for 
hunters should not find them. ... It is the kind 
of lions, not to be wroth with man, but if they be 
grieved or hurt. Also their mercy is known by 
many and oft examples : for they spare them that 
lie on the ground, and suffer them to pass homeward 
that were prisoners and come out of thraldom, and 
eat not a man or slay him but in great hunger. 
Pliny saith that the lion is in most gentleness and 
nobility, when his neck and shoulders be heled with 
hair and main. And he that is gendered of the 
pard, lacketh that nobility. The lion knoweth by 



160 MEDIEVAL LORE 

smell, if the pard gendereth with the lioness, and 
reseth against the lioness that breaketh spousehood, 
and punisheth her full sore, but if she wash her in 
a river, and then it is not known. The lion liveth 
most long, and that is known by working and wasting 
of his teeth : and when in age he reseth on a man : 
for his virtue and might faileth to pursue great 
beasts and wild. And then he besiegeth cities to 
ransom and to take men : but when the lions be 
taken, then they be hanged, for other lions should 
dread such manner pain. The old lion reseth 
woodly on men, and only grunteth on women, and 
reseth seldom on children, but in great hunger. . . . 
In peril the lion is most gentle and noble, for when 
he is pursued with hounds and with hunters, the 
lion lurketh not nor hideth himself, but sitteth in 
fields where he may be seen, and arrayeth himself 
to defence. And runneth out of wood and covert 
with swift running and course, as though he would 
account vile shame to lurk and to hide himself. 
And he hideth himself not for dread that he hath, 
but he dreadeth himself sometime, only for he 
would not be dreaded. And when he pursueth 
man or beast in lands, then he leapeth when he 
reseth on him. When he is wounded, he taketh 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 161 

wonderly heed, and knoweth them that him first 
smiteth, and reseth on the smiter, though he be 
never in so great multitude : and if a man shoot at 
him, the lion chaseth him and throweth him down, 
and woundeth him not, nor hurteth him. . . . He 
hideth himself in high mountains, and espieth from 
thence his prey. And when he seeth his prey he 
roareth full loud, and at the voice of him other 
beasts dread and stint suddenly : and he maketh a 
circle all about them with his tail, and all the beasts 
dread to pass out over the line of the circle, and the 
beasts stand astonied and afraid, as it were abiding 
the hest and commandment of their king. . . . 
And he is ashamed to eat alone the prey that he 
taketh ; therefore of his grace of free heart, he 
leaveth some of his prey to other beasts that follow 
him afar. . . . And the lion is hunted in this wise : 
One double cave is made one fast by that other, 
and in the second cave is set a whiche, that closeth 
full soon when it is touched : and in the first den 
and cave is a lamb set, and the lion leapeth therein, 
when he is an hungered, for to take the lamb. And 
when he seeth that he may not break out of the 
den, he is ashamed that he is beguiled, and would 
enter in to the second den to lurk there, and falleth 



1 62 MEDIEVAL LORE 

into it, and it closeth anon as he is in, and letteth 
him not pass out thereof, but keepeth him fast there- 
in, until he be taken out and bound with chains 
till he be tame. . . . The lion is cruel and wood 
when he is wroth, and biteth and grieveth himself 
for indignation, and gnasheth with his teeth, and 
namely when he hungreth, and spieth and lieth in 
wait, to take beasts which pass by the way. He 
hideth himself in privy caves, and reseth on beasts 
unawares, and slayeth them with his teeth and claws, 
and breaketh all their members, and eateth them 
piecemeal : and if he see any come against him to 
take away his prey, then he beclippeth the prey, 
and grunteth and smiteth the earth with his tail, 
and if he nigheth him he leapeth on him, and over- 
cometh him, and turneth to the prey. First he 
drinketh and licketh the blood of the beast that he 
slayeth, and rendeth and haleth the other-deal limb- 
meal, and devoureth and swalloweth it. 

The leopard is a beast most cruel, and is 
gendered in spouse-breach of a pard and of a lioness, 
and pursueth his prey startling and leaping and not 
running, and if he taketh not his prey in the third 
leap, or in the fourth, then he stinteth for indigna- 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 163 

tion, and goeth backward as though he were over- 
come. And he is less in body than the lion, and 
therefore he dreadeth the lion, and maketh a cave 
under earth with double entering, one by which he 
goeth in, and the other by which he goeth out. 
And that cave is full wide and large in either 
entering, and more narrow and straight in the 
middle. And so when the lion cometh, he fleeth 
and falleth suddenly into the cave, and the lion 
pursueth him with a great rese, and entereth also 
into the cave, and weeneth there to have the 
mastery over the leopard, but for greatness of his 
body he may not pass freely by the middle of the 
den which is full straight, and when the leopard 
knoweth that the lion is so let and holden in the 
straight place, he goeth out of the den forward, and 
cometh again into the den in the other side behind 
the lion, and reseth on him behindforth with biting 
and with claws, and so the leopard hath often in 
that wise the mastery of the lion by craft and not 
by strength, so the less beast hath oft the mastery ot 
the strong beast by deceit and guile in the den, and 
dare not rese on him openly in the field, as Homer 
saith in the book of the battles and wiles of 
beasts. 



164 MEDIEVAL LORE 

Churls speak of him [the wolf] and say that a man 
loseth his voice, if the wolf seeth him first. There- 
fore to a man that is suddenly still, and leaveth to speak 
it is said, " Lupus est in fabula," " The wolf is in the 
tale." And certainly if he know that he is seen first, 
he loseth his boldness, hardihood, and fierceness. 
The wolf is an evil beast, when he eateth, and 
resteth much when he hath no hunger : he is full 
hardy, and loveth well to play with a child, if he 
may take him ; and slayeth him afterward, and 
eateth him at the last. It is said, that if the wolf 
be stoned, he taketh heed of him that threw the first 
stone, and if that stone grieveth him he will slay 
him : and if it grieveth him not, and he may take 
him that throweth that stone, he doth him not 
much harm, but some harm he doth him as it were 
in wrath, and leaveth him at last. . . . The wolf 
may not bend his neck backward in no month of 
the year but in May alone, when it thundereth. 
And when he goeth by night to a fold for to take 
his prey, he goeth against the wind for hounds 
should not smell him. And if it happeth in any 
wise that his foot maketh noise, treading upon any- 
thing, then he chasteneth that foot with hard bit- 
ing. ... I have read in a book that a string made of 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 165 

a wolf's gut, put among harp strings made of the guts 
of sheep, destroyeth and corrupteth them, as the 
eagle's feathers put among culvours', pulleth and 
gnaweth them, if they be there left together long in 
one place. 

He [the cat] is a full lecherous beast in youth, 
swift, pliant, and merry, and leapeth and reseth on 
everything that is to fore him : and is led by a straw, 
and playeth therewith : and is a right heavy beast in 
age and full sleepy, and lieth slyly in wait for mice : 
and is aware where they be more by smell than by 
sight, and hunteth and reseth on them in privy 
places : and when he taketh a mouse, he playeth 
therewith, and eateth him after the play. In time 
of love is hard fighting for wives, and one scratcheth 
and rendeth the other grievously with biting and 
with claws. And he maketh a ruthful noise and 
ghastful, when one proffereth to fight with another : 
and unneth is hurt when he is thrown down off an 
high place. And when he hath a fair skin, he is as 
it were proud thereof, and goeth fast about : and 
when his skin is burnt, then he bideth at home ; and 
is oft for his fair skin taken of the skinner, and slain 
and flayed. 



1 66 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

Physiologus speaketh of the Panther and saith 
that he hateth the dragon, and the dragon fleeth 
him : and when he hath eat enough at full, he 
hideth him in his den, and sleepeth continually 
nigh three days, and riseth after three days and 
crieth, and out of his mouth cometh right good air 
and savour, and is passing measure sweet : and for 
the sweetness all beasts follow him. And only the 
dragon is a-feared when he heareth his voice, and 
fleeth into a den, and may not suffer the smell 
thereof; and faileth in himself, and looseth his 
comfort. For he weeneth that his smell is very 
venom. 

All four-footed beasts have liking to behold the 
divers colours of the panther and tiger, but they are 
a-feared of the horribleness of their heads, and 
therefore they hide their heads, and toll the beasts 
to them with fairness of that other-deal of the body, 
and take them when they come so tolled, and eat 
them. 

The mermaid is a sea beast wonderly shapen, and 
draweth shipmen to peril by sweetness of song. 
The Gloss on Is. xiii. saith that sirens are serpents 
with crests. And some men say, that they are fishes 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 167 

of the sea in likeness of women. Some men feign 
that there are three Sirens some-deal maidens, and 
some-deal fowls with claws and wings, and one of 
them singeth with voice, and another with a pipe, 
and the third with an harp, and they please so ship- 
men, with likeness of song, that they draw them to 
peril and to shipbreach, but the sooth is, that they 
were strong hores, that drew men that passed by 
them to poverty and to mischief. And Physiologus 
saith it is a beast of the sea, wonderly shapen as 
a maid from the navel upward and a fish from the 
navel downward, and this wonderful beast is glad 
and merry in tempest, and sad and heavy in fair 
weather. With sweetness of song this beast maketh 
shipmen to sleep, and when she seeth that they are 
asleep, she goeth into the ship, and ravisheth which 
she may take with her, and bringeth him into a dry 
place, and maketh him first lie by her, and if he 
will not or may not, then she slayeth him and eateth 
his flesh. Of such wonderful beasts it is written in 
the great Alexander's story. 

The tiger is the swiftest beast in flight, as it were 
an arrow, for the Persees call an arrow Tigris, and 
is a beast distinguished with divers specks, and is 



168 MEDIEVAL LORE 

wonderly strong and swift. And Pliny saith that 
they be beasts of dreadful swiftness, and that is 
namely known when he is taken, for the whelp is all 
glimy and sinewy ; and the hunter lieth in await, 
and taketh away the whelps, and fleeth soon away on 
the most swift horse that he may have. And when 
the wild beast cometh and findeth the den void, 
and the whelps away, then he reseth headlong, and 
taketh the fore of him that beareth the whelps away, 
and followeth him by smell, and when the hunter 
heareth the grutching of that beast that runneth 
after him, he throweth down one of the whelps ; 
and the mother taketh the whelp in her mouth, and 
beareth him into her den and layeth him therein, 
and runneth again after the hunter. But in the 
meantime the hunter taketh a ship, and hath with 
him the other whelps, and scapeth in that wise ; 
and so she is beguiled and her fierceness standeth in 
no stead, and the male taketh no wood rese after. 
For the male recketh not of the whelps, and he that 
will bear away the whelps, leaveth in the way great 
mirrors, and the mother followeth and findeth the 
mirrors in the way, and looketh on them and seeth 
her own shadow and image therein, and weeneth 
that she seeth her children therein, and is long 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 169 

occupied therefore to deliver her children out of 
the glass, and so the hunter hath time and space for 
to scape, and so she is beguiled with her own 
shadow, and she followeth no farther after the 
hunter to deliver her children. 

Avicenna saith that the bear bringeth forth a 
piece of flesh imperfect and evil shapen, and the 
mother licketh the lump, and shapeth the members 
with licking. . . . For the whelp is a piece of flesh 
little more than a mouse, having neither eyes nor 
ears, and having claws some-deal bourgeoning, and 
so this lump she licketh, and shapeth a whelp with 
licking. . . . And it is wonder to tell a thing, that 
Theophrastus saith and telleth that bear's flesh sodden 
that time (of their sleeping) vanisheth if it be laid up, 
and is no token of meat found in the almery, but a 
little quantity of humour. . . . When he is taken 
he is made blind with a bright basin, and bound with 
chains, and compelled to play, and tamed with 
beating ; and is an unsteadfast beast, and unstable 
and uneasy, and goeth therefore all day about the 
stake, to the which he is strongly tied. He licketh 
and sucketh his own feet, and hath liking in the 
juice thereof. He can wonderly sty upon trees 



1 70 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

unto the highest tops of them, and oft bees gather 
honey in hollow trees, and the bear findeth honey by 
smell, and goeth up to the place that the honey is in, 
and maketh a way into the tree with his claws, and 
draweth out the honey and eateth it, and cometh oft 
by custom unto such a place when he is an-hungered. 
And the hunter taketh heed thereof, and pitcheth 
full sharp hooks and stakes about the foot of the tree, 
and hangeth craftily a right heavy hammer or a 
wedge tofore the open way to the honey. And then 
the bear cometh and is an-hungered, and the log that 
hangeth there on high letteth him : and he putteth 
away the wedge despiteously, but after the removing 
the wedge falleth again and hitteth him on the ear. 
And he hath indignation thereof, and putteth away 
the wedge despiteously and right fiercely, and then 
the wedge falleth and smiteth him harder than it did 
before, and he striveth so long with the wedge, until 
his feeble head doth fail by oft smiting of the wedge, 
and then he falleth down upon the pricks and stakes, 
and slayeth himself in that wise. Theophrastus 
telleth this manner hunting of bears, and learned it 
of the hunters in the country of Germany. 

A fox is called Vulpes, and hath that name as it 



NATURAL HISTORY ANIMALS 171 

were wallowing feet aside, and goeth never forth- 
right, but always aslant and with fraud. And is a 
false beast and deceiving, for when him lacketh meat, 
he feigneth himself dead, and then fowls come to 
him, as it were to a carrion, and anon he catcheth 
one and devoureth it. The fox halteth always, for 
the right legs are shorter than the left legs. His skin 
is right hairy rough and hot, his tail is great and 
rough ; and when an hound weeneth to take him by 
the tail, he taketh his mouth full of hair and stoppeth 
it. The fox doth fight with the brock for dens, and 
defileth the brock's den, and hath so the mastery 
over him with fraud and deceit, and not by 
strength. . . . The fox feigneth himself tame in 
time of need, but by night he waiteth his time and 
doeth shrewd deeds. And though he be right guileful 
in himself and malicious, yet he is good and profitable 
in use of medicine. 



THE SOURCES OF THE BOOK 



ADAMANTIUS (fl. 258). Origen is quoted under this name. 
His commentaries on the Old Testament are the works 
quoted from. 

AEGIDIUS CORBOLIENSIS, of Corbeil (d. 1220). A doctor 
at Montpellier, and Canon of Paris. 

ALANUS DE INSULIS, OR DE RYSSEL (d. 1202). A 
monk of Canterbury, most probably an Englishman. His 
principal work is a poem in 9 books, called ANTI-CLAUDI- 
ANUS, largely quoted by all Middle Age writers. An account 
of it is given in the notes on the Secreta Secretorum (E.E.T.S.). 
He also wrote DE PLANCTU NATURAE, PARABOLAE, etc. 

ALBERTUS MAGNUS (1193-1280). A famous doctor in the 
University of Paris and a Dominican Theologian. The 
works quoted are commentaries on the Natural Histories of 
Aristotle. They have often been printed. He was teacher 
of Thomas Aquinas and a contemporary of our author. 

ALBUMAZAR (d. 886). An Arab astronomer. 

ALCUIN (735-804). An English theologian : the work quoted 
is his " De Septem Artibus." 

ALEXANDER NECKHAM, OR NEQUAM (1157-1217). 
His principal work is " De Naturis Rerum," a book little 
known on the Continent. Its use by Bartholomew is thus 
another proof of his English birth. 

173 



1/4 MEDIEVAL LORE 



ALFARAGUS (gth cent.). An Arab astronomer, whose work 
is notable as being the chief source of the celebrated astro- 
nomical treatise, " The Sphere," of Johannes Sacrobosco 
(John of Halifax), a contemporary Englishman. It was 
the popular text-book for over three centuries, and was as 
well known as Euclid. 

ALFREDUS ANGLICUS (fl. 1200). A physician and trans- 
lator of Aristotle. See JACOB'S JEsop for a discussion on 
his works. 

AL GHAZEL (1061-1137). A sceptic opponent of Averroes. 

AMBROSE (d. 397). The Hexameron is the work used. 

ANSELM (1033-1109). Theologian, Archbishop of Canterbury. 
The inventor of Scholasticism. 

ARCHELAUS. A Greek geographer. 

ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.). I would refer the reader to 
BRECHILLET JOURDAIN on the EARLY TRANSLATIONS OF 
ARISTOTLE, where he will find a mine of information on 
the works of this writer used in the Middle Age. 

AUGUSTINE (d. 430). 

AURORA, THE. A metrical version of the Bible by PETRUS 
DE RIGA, Canon of Rheims (d. 1209). 

AVERROES (d. 1217). Moorish commentator on Aristotle. 

AVICEBRON (d. 1070), OR IBN GEBIROL. A Spanish 
Jew. Author of the FONTIS VITA. A work translated by 
Gundisalvi, of the greatest influence on the Metaphysic of 
the Middle Age. See MUNCK, MELANGES. 

AVICENNA (980-1036). An Arab physician, and commen- 
tator on Aristotle. 

AYMON, OR HAYMON (d. 1244). An English Franciscan, 
afterwards General of the Order, who revised the breviary 
and rubrics. 

BASIL (329-379)- In HEXAMERON. 



THE SOURCES OF THE BOOK 175 

BEDE (673-735). The work by which he was best known in 
the thirteenth century was not his History but the works 
on the Calendar, etc. 

BELETH, JOHN (before 1165). A French writer on ecclesi- 
astical matters. 

BERNARD (1091-1153). 

BESTIARIUM. A collection of early myths on animals j of 
Eastern origin. There are many different forms of this 
work. All are founded on Physiologus. 

BOETHIUS (470-526). His treatise on arithmetic is the work 
quoted here. His " Consolation " was almost unknown in 
the early Middle Age, his popularity resting on his transla- 
tions of Aristotle and his treatises on Music and Arith- 
metic, the latter being a very important work in the history 
of the science. 

CALLISTHENES, PSEUDO-. Author of the HISTORIA ALEX- 
ANDRI MAGNI DE PRELIIS. See BUDGE'S Syriac Version of 
this work. 

CASSIODORUS (480-575). DE SEPTEM DISCIPLINE. One ot 
the favourite Middle Age Text-Books. 

CATO (233-151 B.C.). On AGRICULTURE. 

CHALCIDIUS (3rd cent.). A commentator on the TIMAEUS 
of Plato. Only a part of this is preserved. 

CICERO (107-44 B - C 0- I n SOMN. SCIPIONIS. 

CONSTANTINUS AFER (d. 1087). A Benedictine monk of 
Monte Cassino, and most probably the introducer of Arab 
medicine into Italy. He wrote the VIATICUM and the 
PANTEGNA (20 books). He introduced Arab medicine into 
Europe through the School of Salerno, translating many 
Arab authors. 

CYPRIAN (d. 285). A Syriac astrologer, afterwards Bishop of 
Antioch, and Martyr in the Diocletian persecution. 



1 76 MEDIEVAL LORE 

DAMASCENE (nth cent.). Quoted by Constantinus Afer. 
A physician. 

DAMASCENE, JOHN (end of I2th cent.). An Arab physician. 

DAMASCIUS (circ. 533). A Syrian commentator on Aristotle, 
who took refuge in Persia. Author of a work on wonders 
quoted by Photius. 

DIOSCORIDES (d. 47 B.C.). 

DIONYSIUS AREOPAGITUS, PSEUDO- (circ. 400). DE 
CELESTI HIERARCHIA, DE DIVINIS NOMINIBUS. 

DONATUS (333). A Grammarian. 
EUFICIUS (circ. 600). A disciple of Gregory. 
FULGENTIUS (circ. 550). A grammarian. 

GALEN (131-210). 

GILBERTUS (circ. 1250). A celebrated English physician in 
France ; wrote COMPENDIUM MEDICINAE. 

GREGORY (circ. 590). On Job. 

HALY (circ. looo). A Jewish physician. Wrote a PANTEGNI 
or COMPLEMENTUM MEDICINAE. The first medical work 
translated by Constantius Afer. 

HERMES. In ALCHEMIA (not now extant). 
HIPPOCRATES (460-351 B.C.). 

HUGUTION PIZANUS (d. 1210). A jurisconsult and writer 
on Grammar. 

HYGINUS, PSEUDO- (6th cent.). Writer on Astronomy. 

INNOCENT III. (d. 1216). Wrote "De Contemptu Mundi," 

etc. 
ISAAC (circ. 660). An Arab physician, who translated many 

Greek authors into Arabic. 



THE SOURCES OF THE BOOK 177 

ISIDORE (d. 636). Bishop of Seville. He wrote a work on 
Etymology in 20 books, one of the most popular works of 
the Middle Age. 

JACOBUS DE VITRIACO (d. 1240). A Crusading Bishop, 
afterwards Cardinal legate. Wrote an EXEMPLAR, and 3 
books of Eastern and Western History. 

JEROME (340-420). 

JOSEPH BEN GORION (900). Abridgment of Jewish 
History containing many legends. 

JOSEPHUS (37-95). Jewish historian. 
JORATH. DE ANIMALIBUS. A Syriac writer (?). 

LAPIDARIUM. See MARBODIUS DE GEMMIS. There are 

many treatises under this name. 
LEO IX. (1054). See Migne, Patrologia. 

LUCAN (d. 65). One of the most popular Latin poets of the 
Middle Age. 

MACER FLORIDUS (6th cent.). On THE VIRTUES OF HERBS. 

MACROBIUS (circ. 409). His commentary on the dream of 
Scipio was a favourite work in Medieval times. 

MARTIANUS CAPELLA (circ. 400). Wrote a poem, THE 
MARRIAGE or MERCURY AND PHILOLOGIA, treating of THE 
SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS, which was the standard text-book 
from the 5th century for the schools. 

MESSAHALA (circ. noo). 

METHODIUS, PSEUDO- (8th cent.). DE ACARENI. 

MICHAEL SCOT (circ. 1235). At this time concerned in the 
translation of some Arabic works on Astronomy, and 
Aristotle's DE COELO and DE MUNDO DE ANIMA, and 
HISTORIA NATURALIS with commentaries. 



178 MEDIEVAL LORE 

MISALATH ASTROLOGUS (?). 

PAPIAS (circ. 1053). Grammarian. [Milan, 1467, etc.] 

PERSPECTIVA SCIENCIA. I cannot say whether this is 
Bacon's, Peckham's, or Albertus Magnus', but I believe it 
to be Peckham's, who was an Englishman, and afterwards 
Archbishop of Canterbury. 

PETRUS COMESTOR (d. 1198). Named MAGISTER HISTORI- 
ARUM or Master of Histories, wrote an account of the world 
from the Creation, which, when translated into French, was 
called the " Mer des Histoires." A favourite Medieval book. 

PHILARETUS (noo). A writer on Medicine. 

PHYSIOLOGUS. A Syriac compilation of moralities on 
animal myths. It first appears in Western Europe as 
THEOBALDUS OE NATURIS XII. ANIMALIUM. Of Alexandrian 
origin, it dates from before the fourth century, and appears 
to have been altered at the will of each writer. 

PLATEARIUS SALERNITANUS (circ. noo) was Johannes, 
one of a family of physicians at Salerno. His work is called 
the PRACTICA. A book on the virtues of herbs. [Lugd., 
1525, etc.] 

PLATO (430-348 B.C.). The TIMAEUS is quoted, probably from 
Chalcidius. 

PLINY (d. 79). Natural History. This and Isidore's work 
are the two chief sources of medieval knowledge of Nature. 

PRISCIAN (circ. 525). Grammarian and physicist. 

PTOLEMY (circ. 130). An Alexandrian astronomer, known 
through Arabic translations only at that time. [Ven., 
1 509, etc.] 

RABANUS MAURUS (776-856) of Fulda, pupil of Alcuin. 
A Benedictine, afterwards Archbishop of Mayence, who 
wrote DE UNIVERSO MUNDO. [1468 ; Col., 1627, etc.] 



THE SOURCES OF THE BOOK 179 

RASIS (d. 935). An Arab physician, perhaps the greatest of the 
School. [Ven., 154.8, etc.] 

REMIGIUS (d. 908). A teacher of Grammar in the School of 
Paris. His grammar remained in use there four centuries. 
He wrote a gloss on Marcianus Capella. 

RICARDUS DE ST. VICTOR (d. 1173). A Scottish 
theologian, Prior of St. Victor. A mystic of considerable 
acuteness. [Ven., 1 506, etc.] 

RICARDUS RUFUS (circ. 1225). A Cornishman who was a 
doctor in great renown, both at Oxford and Paris. He 
afterwards joined the Franciscans. 

ROBERTUS LINCOLN., GROSTETE (d. 1253), the cele- 
brated Bishop of Lincoln and patron of Bacon. Taught at 
Paris and at Oxford. Commentaries on Aristotle. 

SALUSTIUS (d. 363 ?). DE Dus ET MUNDO. A geographer. 

SCHOLA SALERNITANA (circ. noo). A treatise on the 
preservation of health in leonine verse for popular use, said 
to be addressed to Robert of England. It has been trans- 
lated and commented on hundreds of times. The Middle 
Age very sensibly thought preservation from disease a 
branch of medicine equally important with the cure of it. 

SECUNDUS. A writer on Medicine. 

SOLINUS (circ. 100). Wrote an account of things in general 
POLYHISTORIA. 

STEPHANUS (circ. 600). Commentary on Galen. 

STRABUS (d. 847). A Benedictine, Abbot of Reichenau, near 
Constance. One of the authors of the Gloss. 

SYMON CORNUBIENSIS (?). 

VARRO, M. T. (116-26 B.C.). Most celebrated grammarian. 



1 80 MEDIEVAL LORE 

VIRGIL (70-19 B.C.). 

WILLIAM CONCHES (d. 1150). Lectured at Paris, 1139, 
on Grammar, wrote Di NATURA. 

ZENO (circ. 400). A writer on Medicine, and teacher at 
Alexandria. 

Th'n list of Authorities cited is that given at the end of the complete 
work of Bartholomew. 



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BIBLIOGRAPHY 183 

The first edition of this selection was published 
at London in 1893. 

The 1535 edition has 8 unpaged leaves (title, table, 
prologue, and Book I.), 338 numbered leaves, and 
printer's mark of Lucretia. The following errors in 
pagination are noted: 181 for 189, 197 for 187, 
20 1 for 200, 203 for 201, 211 for 209. 

The chief point of interest in the Bibliography is 
the question raised by Wynkyn de Worde's positive 
statement in his edition in his epilogue : 

And also of your charyte call to remembraunce 

The soule of William Caxton first prynter of this boke 

In latin tonge at Coleyn hymself to avaunce 

That every well disposyd man may theron loke 

And John Tate the yonger Joy mote he broke 

Which late hathe in Englond doo make this paper thynne 

That now in our Englyssh this boke is prynted Inne. 

Mr. Gordon Duff is disposed to think that Caxton 
may have worked on the undated Cologne edition 
(H.C. *2498), which must in that case be put 
before 1476, finding a link between his Bruges 
type and the Cologne presses in a work printed 
at Louvain in 1475 which contains type of both 
descriptions. 



1 84 MEDIAEVAL LORE 

Most of these editions are in the British Museum. 
The copy of the Berthelet edition there has an 
autograph of Shakespeare in it one of the Ireland 
forgeries. 



GLOSSARY 



Accord, ., harmony 
According, fart., punning, or in 

harmony 

Adamant, ;;., a diamond 
Addercop, ., a spider 
Afeard, part., affrighted 
Afore, prep., before 
Almery, ., a cupboard, a buttery 
Anon, adv., immediately 
Apaid, v., served, repaid 
Apaired, adj., injured, impaired 
Areared, adj., upright 
Assay, v., to try 
Aught, ., anything 
Avisement, n., forethought, 

counsel 

Away with, v., to suffer 
Awreak, a/., revenge 
Ayencoming, ., returning 
Ayenge, prep., against 
Ayenward, adv., vice versa 

Bate, v., hawking, to flutter the 
wings as if preparing for flight 
Bays, ., the fruit of the laurel 
Because, conj., in order that 



Beclip, v,, embrace, enfold 
Behind forth, adv., from back 

to front 

Behooteth, v., advises, gives 
Behove, v., to be necessary 
Bernacle, ., a bridle 
Beshine, v., to illuminate. 
Bisse, ., a second 
Blemish, i>., shrink, blench 
Blow, v., to obtain lead, etc., 

from ores in a furnace 
Boisterous, boystous, adj., thick, 

strong, solid 

Bourgeon, v., to bud, burst forth 
Bray, v., to pound 
Brock, ., a badger 
Buck, v., to wash 
Busily, adv., carefully 
But, prep., except 

Car, ., means or instrument 
Carfle, v., to pound 
Carrions, n., corpses 
Cast, v., to intend 
Chaffer, n., trade 
Chine, ., chink, cleft 



i86 



MEDIEVAL LORE 



Clarity, ., clearness 

Clepe, v., call 

Cliff, ., shore 

Clue, ., a clew or hank (of 

yarn) 

Comfort, v., to strengthen 
Common, v., to share one's food 

with others and ayenward 
Conject, v., conjecture 
Coverture, ., covering 
Craftily, adv., skilfully 
Culvour, n., pigeon 
Curtel, ., a kirtle, a short coat. 

a covering 

Deadly, adv., mortal 

Deeming, ., judgment, opinion 

Default, n., deficiency 

Depart, v., to separate, share 
out 

Despiteously, adv., contempt- 
uously 

Detty, adj., generous 

Disperple, v., to scatter, destroy 

Do, done, v., to put, to don 

Doomsman, ., judge 

Draust, ., dross, impurity 

Ear, v., to reap 
Else, adv., otherwise 
Enform, v., to make 
Even tofore, adv., opposite to 
Expert, adv., tried 

Fare, v., to happen 
Fear, <v.a., to frighten 
Fell, ., an undressed skin 



Fen, ., clay 

Fine, ., a boundary 

Fleet, v., to float, to swim ; 

cf. " to flit " 

Flux, ., a flow, a catarrh 
Fore, ., trail, spoor; r " foor " 
Frot, v., to rub 

Fumous, adj., vaporous, cloudy 
Fumosity, ., vapour 
Fundament, n., foundation 

Gentle, adj., noble, high-minded 

Gesses, ., jesses, cords for 
fastening the legs of a hawk 

Gete, ., goats 

Ghastful, adj., frightful 

Gin, n., machine 

Glad, v.a., to please 

Glimy, adj., slimy 

Gloss, ., the comment on Scrip- 
ture, compiled in the ninth 
century from the fathers 

Glue, n., any glutinous substance 

Gnod, v., to rub? 

Grieve, v., to hurt 

Grutching, ., growling 

Gutter, ., drop 

Hale, v., to drag 
Hap, ., chance 
Hards, birds, n., tow 
Haught, fart., hatched 
Heckle, v., to straighten out 

lint by a coarse comb 
Hele, v., to cover ; cf., heling 
Hight, v. t is called 
Hoar, adj., feathered 



GLOSSARY 



187 



Hop, n., the seed case of the 

flaxplant 

Horrible, <fc(/., unpleasant to hear 
Housebond, ., husband 
Hovey, ., hovel, cottage 
Hoving, fart., staying 

Infect, adj., spotted, injured 
Intendment, ., understanding 

Jape, v., to cry out 

Kele, v., to cool 
Kind, ;;., nature 
Kindly, adj., natural 5 adv., 
naturally 

Langhaldes, ., ropes connecting 
the fore and hind legs of a 
horse or cow to stay it from 
jumping 

Latten, ., a kind of brass 

Lea, ., pasture land 

Lesings, ., untruths 

Let, v. t to hinder 

Lewd, adj., ignorant 

Liefer, adv., rather 

Likelihood, ., resemblance 

Limb, ., an instrument 5 tf. 
" limb of the law " 

Limbmeal, adv., limb by limb ; 
cf. " piecemeal " 

List, n., a limit, border 

Lodesman, n., pilot 

Lowte, T>., to trumpet 

Make, ., a mate 



Manner, adj., manner of, kind of 

Mawmet, n., an idol or toy 

Mean, ., intermediary, means 

Mean, w., to assert, consider 

Medley, *>., to mix 

Meinie, ., domestics, household 

Merry, adj., fortunate 

Meselry, n., leprosy 

Mess, ., portion 

Messager, ., messenger 

Mete, v., measure, apportion 

Mews, ., originally a place in 
which hawks were kept 
" mewed up " 

Mildness, ., generosity 

Minish, v., to narrow 

Mirror, ., seems to have been 
used only when the surface 
was curved,the word"shewer" 
being used for a plane mirror 

Mistake, ?/., to take wrongly 

Namely, adv., especially 

Nathless, con., nevertheless 

Ne, cm., nor 

Needly, adv., necessarily 

Nerve, ., sinew 

Nesh, adj., soft 

Nether, adj., lower 

Nice, adj., silly, small, trifling 

Nicely, adv., sillily 

Nother, con., neither 

Noyful, adj., noxious, hurtful 

Noying, ., harm 

Ordinate, adj., ordered, pre- 
scribed 



188 



MEDIEVAL LORE 



Otherdeal, adv., otherwise 
Overthwart, ad'., crossed over 
on itself 

Passing, adj., surpassing 
Patent, n., a plate or paten 

(patine) 

Pight, adj., put, pitched 
Powder, n., dust of any kind 
Pricket, ., a spike used for 

candlestick, hence a candle 
Principles, ., indecomposable 

elements 

Pure, v.a., to purify 
Pursueth, v., suiteth ? 

Quicken, v.t., to come to life 
Quiver, adj., nimble, active 

Ramaious, adj., (hawking), slow 

Ravish, v., to snatch 

Reclaim, n., (hawking], the call- 
ing back of a hawk 

Refudation, ., a process in 
which vinegar is poured on 
lead, distilled off, and again 
suffered to act on it 

Relief, ., a dessert 

Rese, v., to rush on anyone 

Resolve, v., to loosen, weaken, 
to dissolve 

Rheum, ., salt humour 

Ribbed, adj., beaten with a 
" rib," in dressing flax 

Ridge, ., the back bone 

Riever, n., a violent, robber, a 
raider 



Rivelled, adj., wrinkled 
Rively, adv., wrinkled, shrunk 
Rodded, adj., separated from 

tow "redded " 
Routs, ., crowds 
Ruthful, adj., sorrowful 

Sad, adj., steadfast, solid 

Sanguine, adj., blood-like 

Scarce, adj., sparing, avaricious 

Seethe, i/., to boil 

Selde, adv., seldom 

Sele, "v., to cover 

Shamefast, adj., shamefaced 

Sheltrons, n., palisades 

Shern, adj., shore 

Shewer, ., a looking-glass 

Shingle, n., in roofing, brush- 
wood, or small boards 

Shipbreach, n., shipwreck 

Shore, adj., shorn (of the 
hair) 

Shrewd, adj., bitter ; cf., shrew 

Silly, adj., blessed, hence inno- 
cent, hence simple 

Sinew, ., a nerve 

Slubber, v., to do anything 
carelessly 

Smirch, v., to soil 

Sod, adj., stewed 

Solar, ., an upper floor 

Solemn, adj., celebrated, earnest 

Somedeal, adv., somewhat 

Sometime, adi>., once 

Sooth, ., truth 

Spanells, ., ropes connecting 
the fore or hind feet of an 



GLOSSARY 



189 



animal to impede its move- 
ments 

Spousehood, n,, marriage 

Spousebreach, ., adultery 

Spronge, adj., sprinkled 

Stare, i/., to stay 

Startling, part., leaping and 
jumping 

Stint, -v., to stop 

Stint, adj., stopped 

Straight, adj., confined 

Straited, adj., narrowed 

Sty, v., to climb 

Suspect, adj., in suspicion 

Tatch, n., spot 
Tatched, adj., spotted 
Tewly, livid 
Tilth, -v., to cultivate 
Tilth, ., tillage 
Tofore, prep., before 
Toll, <v., to entice 
Trow, v., to believe 5 cf., 
trust 

Unmighty, adj., unable 
Unneth, adv., hardly 
Uplandish, adj., rustic 
Utter, adj., outer 



Very, adj., true 

Wait, n., a guard 
Wanhope, n., despair 
Warily, adi>., carefully 
Ween, v., consider, think 
Wem, n., blemish, fault 
Wend, adj., wound up 
Werish, adj., insipid 
Whelk, ., a swelling 
Whet, v., to sharpen 
Whiche, n., a wicket-gate ; cf. 

" wych gate " 
Wilful, adj., of set purpose 
Wit, n., a sense ; cf. " out of 

his wits " 

Witty, adj., sensibly 
Wonder, adj., wondrous 
Wonderly, adv., wondrously 
Wood, adj., crazy, frantic 
Woodness, n., madness 
Woose, ., fluid 

Worship, n., reverence, authority 
Wosen, ., the arteries 
Wot, v., knew 
Wrang, adj., injured, wrung 
Wreak, ., revenge 
Wreck, <v., to revenge 
Wrecker, /;., avenger 



INDEX 



Adder, a cure for leprosy, 69-70 
Albion, the old name for England, 

84 

Alchemy, history of, 18 
Alexander the Great, Amazons 

destroyed by, 82-83 
Aloes grown in Paradise, 103 
Alterations made by Editor, 5 
Amazonia women s land, 82 
Amazons destroyed by Alexander 

the Great, 82-83 
Anglia, why so called, 85 
Animals, folk-lore of, 138-139 ; 

spirits of, 14-15, 28 
Antipodes, 89 
Apples of Sodom, 81 
Arsenic, 34 

Arteries, description of, 73-74 
Ash changed into hazel, 97 
Ash-tree and serpents, 105 
Asp and its mate, 142 ; will not 

hurt Moorish children, 143 
Ass, condition of, 140-141 
Astromony in the Middle Ages, 16, 

45-46 

Badger, contest of, with fox, 170- 

171 

Bad wife, qualities of a, 56-57 
Baricos, a dreadful animal in 

India, 139 

Bartholomew Anglicus, contem- 
poraries of, 7 ; life of, 6-7 



Basilisk, his properties, 144 
Beans and Pythagoras, 105 
Bear, blinded with a bright basin 
169 ; climbs trees for honey, 169 
170 ; how captured in Germany, 
170 ; sucks its own paws, 169 ; 
whelps born unformed, 169 ; 
white bear in Iceland, 101 
Beavers, carrying home wood, 148 ; 

where found, 148 

Bees, description of, 121-124'; food 

of, 123 ; honey and wax gathered 

from fruit and flowers by, 125 ; 

how they steady themselves in 

high winds, 123-124 ; obedience 

to their king, 122 ; their king 

and commonwealth, 122 

Bennii, who live without heads, 89 

Birch, children whipped with a, 

1 10 ; juice of, drunk, 1 10 
Blind man and boy, 69 ; and the 

former's wife, 70 

Blindness, wretchedness of, 68-70 
Blue men's land (Ethiopia), de- 
scription of, 88-90 
Boar and hunter, 139 ; strength of 

his tusks, 140 
Book, date of the, 6 _ 
Brain, seat of sensation, 79 
Brass, composition of, 38 ; pro- 
perties of, 38 

Brimstone, properties of, 44 ; 
source of, 44 



192 



MEDIEVAL LORE 



Britain and the Saxons, 84-85 
Brock, contest of, with fox, 170- 

171 
Brute and Troy, 85 

Cacothephas, a deadly beast, go 
Cain ; the mark of, 67 
Carrier pigeons, 125 
Cat, conditions of, 165 
Catoblefas, a fearful animal, 144 
Chastity of the Frisians, 93-94 
Chemistry, fourth stage of, 18-19 ; 

rise of, 17 ; second stage of, 18 ; 

theory of, Arab in origin, 19 ; 

theory of, in thirteenth century, 

19 ; third stage of, 18 
Children, chastised with a birch, 

no, ref. 51-52 
Cinnamon, found in Phoenix's 

nest, 103 ; how gathered, 103 
Classification of substances, 14-15 
Cockatrice, ashes of, useful in 

Alchemy, 145 ; his properties, 

144 

Colours, primary number of, 33 
Colt, conditions of, 152 
Common sense, seafof, 30 
Courtship in Middle Ages, 55-57 
Crab, an enemy to the oyster, 134 
Crane, lives in companies, 129 ; 

their use of sentinels, 130 
Crocodile weeping over his victim, 

149 
Crows, long life of, 126 ; mildness 

towards their parents, 126; how 

they rule and lead storks, 126 
Crystal, how formed, 37 
Cynocephali, kinds of satyrs, 156 
Cynopodes, people who shelter 

themselves with their feet, 157 

Date of the book, 6 

Dead Sea, the, 69 

Death, an island where there is 

no, 97 
Dews and pearls, 25 ; and ravens, 

25, ref. 25 
Diamond, its occult qualities, 37 



Dinner and feasting, 61 

Dittany, virtues of, 105 

Dogs, conditions of, 145-147 ; 
covetousness of, 147 ; end of, 
147-148 ; envy of, 147 ; guile of, 
147 ; people who worship, 90 

Dolphins and dead men, 133 

Dragons,!conditions of, 149 ; thirst 
of, 150 ; war between elephants 
and, 150 

Eagle, description of the, 118-119 ; 
feathers of, among other birds' 
feathers, 119; how it trains its 
young, 119 ; renews its youth, 
118 ; shares prey among its 
followers, 118 

Editor, alterations made by, 5 

Egypt, description of, 90 

Electrum, three kinds of, 38 

Elements, definition of, 23 ; num- 
ber of, 13, 22 ; qualities of, 
active and passive, 23 

Elephants, bathing together, 153 
how captured in Ethopia, 155 
their kindness towards men, 153 
their skill, 153 ; sleeping agains 
trees, 154 ; their use in war, 154 
war between dragons and, 150 
ways of training them, 154-155 

Elixir of life, origin of, 14 

Engelia, daughter of Saxon leader 
gives name to Anglia, 85 

England, Albion old name for, 84 
size and description of, 84-85 

English children and Gregory, 86 

Englishmen, praise of, 86 

Ethiopia (or Blue men's land), 
description of, 88-90; way of 
capturing elephants in, 155 

Eye, the, 31-32 

Fasting spittle, properties of, 75 
Father, qualities of a good, 58-59 
Fauns and satyrs, 156-157 
Finland, witches of, 100 
Flanders, men of, 93 ; woollen 
cloth from, 93 



INDEX 



193 



Flax, how made into linen, 106-107 

Form, accidental, 22 ; essential, 
22 ; substantial, 22 

Fox, contest of, with badger, 170- 
171 ; his falseness and condi- 
tions, 171 ; useful in medicine, 
171 

France, description of, 91 

Frenzy, cure of, 66 ; signs of, 65 

Frisia, description of, 93 

Frisians, chastity of, 93-94 ; their 
shorn hair, 93 

Gall, as the source of anger, 70 
Garamantes, who live unwedded, 

89 
Garamantus and his army of dogs, 

146 

Generation and corruption, mean- 
ing of, 14 

Geography in the Middle Ages, 80 
Germany, how bears are captured 

in, 170 
Glass, Avicenna's comparison, 44 ; 

discovery of, 44 ; malleable, 45 
Gold, its composition and pro- 
perties, 33 

Good wife, qualities of a, 57 
Goshawk, description of, 120 
Graphasantes who do not work, 89 
Gregory and English children, 86 
Griffin, dwelling place of, 130 ; 

where to be found, 157 
Gymnosophists in India, 95 

Hawking, how birds must be 

trained for, 120 
Hawks, what to feed them upon, 

121 ; where they must be kept, 

121 

Hazel rods changed into ash, 97 
Head quaking, 68 
Heart and arteries, 74 ; source of 

wisdom, 79 
Heliotrope (the stone), darkens 

the air, 39 ; in sunbeam makes 

water boil, 59 ; heliotrope (the 

plant), makes bearer invisible, 39 



Hercules and Amazons, 83 

Hind and dittany, 105 

Honey, trees climbed by bears for, 
169-170 

Horses, joy of, in battle, 151 ; 
sympathy with their lords, 151 

Hounds and hyena, 158 

Husband, a good, 57-58 

Hydrophobia in the Middle Ages, 
7i 

Hyena, changes sex, 157 ; descrip- 
tion of, 157; dislikes the panther, 
158 ; used in witchcraft, 159 

Iceland, description of, 100-101 ; 
white bears in, 101 

Iconemar, a black skin on a colt's 
forehead, 152 

India, an animal called Baricos 
found in, 139 ; description of, 
94-96 ; wonders of, 94 ; white- 
haired children in, 96 

Intellect, seat of, 30 

Ireland, description of, 96-98 

Irishmen, fierce manners of, 98 

Iron, good and bad qualities of, 
39-40 : source of and composi- 
tion, 39 

Ishmaelites, prophesy of, 87 

Kedar, land of, 87 
Knighthood, none among Frisians, 
93 

Lakes, wonderful ones in Ireland, 
97 

Lampeta, Queen of the Amazons, 
83 

Lantern, lighted floats, unlighted 
sinks, in Dead Sea, 81, 87 

Laurel, use of leaves, 104 ; and 
Rebecca, 104 

Lead, black, 40 ; composition and 
properties of, 40-42 ; manu- 
facture of red, 42 ; white, 40 

Leopard and lion, contest of, 163 ; 
breed of the former, 162 



194 



MEDI^VAL LORE 



Leprosy, cure for, 70; signs of, 
^69-70 

Lightning and its effect, 27 ; per- 
ceived sooner than thunder, and 
why, 27 

Linen, manufacture of, 106-107 

Lioness and pard, 160 

Lions, cruelty of, 162 ; how they 
are captured, 161 ; long life of, 
160 ; mercy of, 159 ; nobility of, 
when hunted, 161 ; prey of, 161 ; 
spare women and children, 160 ; 
their manes, 159 

Liver and veins, 72 ; office of, 79 ; 
seat of love, 79 

Lizard and sleeping men, 142 ; 
how it recovers its sight, 142 

Lord, qualities of a good, 60 

Lungs and arteries, 74 ; office of, 
77-78 

Mad dog, result of bite of, 60 ; 

ref. 146 

Madness, cure of, 67 : cause of, 67 
Maidens, and elephants, 155 ; 

their manners, 52-53 
Man and his wife, 55 ; why so 

called, 55 
Mandragora, how dug, 107 ; use 

of, 107 

Manners in the Middle Ages, 49-50 
Marsepia, Queen of the Amazons, 

83 

Matter and form, 21-22 
Medicine, use of the fox in, 171 ; 

in the Middle Ages, 63 
Memory, seat of, 30 
Mermaid, 166, 167 
Modernising spelling of early 

books, 5 
Moorish children not hurt by the 

asp, 143 
Motion of stars, direct, stationary, 

and retrograde, 48 
Music, a cure for madness, 67 

Natural History of Animals, 138- 
171 



Natural spirit, 15, 29 
Nile River, 88 
Nurse, office of a, 53 

Olympus, height of Mount, 82 
Orpheus and his voice, 76 
Orpiment, 34 

Ox-herd, his conditions, 143 
Oyster, the crab an enemy of the, 
134-135 

Panchios, people with great ears, 

*S6 
Panther, sleeps for three days 

after food, 166 ; sweet smell of 

his breath, 166 ; way of captur- 
ing his prey, 166 
Papyrus, its use, 107-108 
Paradise, aloes grown in, 103 
Paris, praise of, 91 
Peacock, description of, 132 
Pearls, how formed, 25 
Pelican, how it feeds, 131 ; how its 

young are brought to life, 131 ; 

loves children, 131 ; where 

found, 131 
Pepper, where grown, 108 ; why it 

becomes black, 108 
Phcenix, birth of new bird, 128 ; 

cinnamon found in nest of, 103 ; 

life of, 128 
Physician, qualities of a good, 

71 ^ 
Physiology, popular, of the Middle 

Ages, 64 
Pigeons, carry messages in Egypt, 

125 ; description of, 125 
Planets, influence on men, 47 ; 

motion of, 46 
Plaster of Paris, 91 
Praise of dogs, 145 
Prologue (by the translator), 9-11 
Pythagoras and beans, 105 

Quicksilver, source and properties 
of. 33-34 

Rain, origin of, 26 ; qualities of, 26 



INDEX 



195 



Rainbow and last judgment, 24 ; 

how formed, 23 ; lunar, 24 
Raven and her young, 127 
Refraction and reflection, 31-33 
Remora, sign of bad weather, 134 ; 

stops ships in mid-ocean, 134 
Robbers in woods, 109 
Roofs, how made, in 

Sapphire, contrary to poison, 42 
Saxons and Britain, the, 85 
Scotchmen, evij manners of, 99 
Scotland, description of, 98-99 
Serpents, kill young pelicans, 131 ; 

and ash trees, 105 ; creep into 

sleepers' mouths, 141 
Servants, evil properties of, 54 ; 

husbands of, become slaves, 54 ; 

kinds of, 59-60 ; their conditions, 

Seven heavens, the, 16 

Shorn hair of Frisians, 93 

Sight, account of, 31 

Silver, 35 

Smell, people who live only by, 96 

Sodom, apples of, 81 

Soporific effect of mandragora, 107 

Sources of the book, 4 

Spirit, how formed, 28 ; definition 

of, 28 ; distinction between soul 

and, 29-30; vital, animal, and 

natural, 29-30 

Spleen, source of laughter, 79 
Spousebreach of lioness, 160 
Storks, defended by crows,_ 126 
Swan, merriest bird in divination, 

127 ; sweet song of, 127 
Substances, classification of, 14-15 

Tables and tablets, in 
Tail of beaver, of fishy nature, 149 
Thanet, why so called, 100 
Thin air, how made fit for breath- 
ing, 82 

Thunder, source of, 27 
Tiberius and laurel, 104 



Tiger, whelps of, how taken, 168 ; 
why so called, 167 

Tin, its composition and proper- 
ties, 43-44 

Tow, how made, no 

Trees, number of great, in India, 
94-95 

Trogodites ( = Troglodites), cave 
dwellers, 89 

Troy and brute, 85 

Tusks of boars, 139 

Veins, definition and description 
of, 72-75 ; properties of, 73 

Veneficium amoris, 152 

Venom of the cockatrice, 144 

Venomous beasts, none in Ireland, 
97 

Ventricles of the brain, 15 

Vineyards, how kept, 112 

Vital spirit, 29 

Voice, burden to the soul if a dis- 
cordant one, 76 ; virtues of a 
sweet one, 76 

Vulture, dies of hunger, 133 ; its 
wit of smelling, 132 ; sometimes 
a man, 133 

Weasel slayeth cockatrice, 145 
Whale and amber, 137 ; and its 

whelps, 136 ; its enemy, 136 ; 

often taken for an island, 136 
Wheat stalks for fodder, 106 
White-haired children in India, 96 
Wind, sale of, by witches, ico 
Wine, abuse of, 114; praise of, 

113-115 

Witches and the hyena, 159 
Wolf, can bend its neck only in 

May, 164 ; gut strings on a lute, 

119, 165 ; sight of, causes a man 

to lose his voice, 164 
Wood carried home by beavers, 148 
Woods, description of, 108-109 
Woollen cloth from Flanders, 93 






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